Gensler is an architecture firm with a global team of multi-disciplinary professionals working together rethinking the future of the cities to create an equitable future for all. With clients and employees worldwide, they are a global community that believes that people and their culture will reshape the future.
People at Gensler aim to integrate innovative technologies with the culture to generate a connected experience that pushes the boundaries of architecture. They strive to instill a sense of belongingness in the spaces and promote community living through their projects. With people being their prime focus in their design thinking, the Gensler team derives strategic solutions for maximum community impact.
With the motto of rebuilding and strengthening the sense of community, the team at Gensler believes that cultural institutions with human-centric experiential designs play a vital role in bringing people together by generating shared experiences for people across different spectrums of life. Cultural centers and museums function as a dynamic space of synergy for an evolving society.
Here are a few of the many remarkable projects by the firm under the expertise of culture and museums:
1. Klyde Warren Park 2.0 | Gensler
Location: Dallas, Texas
Project Status: Under construction
Klyde Warren Park is a 5.2-acre deck park over a sunken eight-lane freeway in Downtown Dallas, Texas. The park that connects the uptown and the downtown neighborhoods initially opened in 2012 has become a delightful attraction for the residents in Dallas. Klyde Warren Park 2.0 is a government undertaking to enhance the park with additional decks over the freeway with amenities on the top designed by Gensler.
Gensler’s phase two design intervention proposes a 50,000-square-foot pavilion on the existing park that roofs the freeway. The proposed pavilion aims to amplify the effect of coactive common space of conventions. The new addition acts as a catalyst in the economic development of the city. The light and airy structure of the multi-use venue consists of 24,000-square-feet of climate-controlled event spaces on two levels and an 8,000-square-foot roof terrace. The special events pavilion will also have a cafe, a rooftop deck, and a special events ballroom.
The pavilion will function as a community center for festivals, markets, and other public events and transform into an ice skating rink during the winter. It envisions a reappraisal of the public realm through modifying the hierarchy of the open spaces. With the needs of the people changing with time, the flexible open expanse of the proposal will accommodate the future requirements. The pavilion will simultaneously increase the surrounding land value with time, ensuring the successful functioning of the project for years to come.
2. Yulin Grand Theatre
Location: Yulin, China
Project Status: Completed in 2020
Yulin Grand Theatre is a cultural center with mixed-use and retail centers. The 41,500-square-meter building consists of art galleries, shopping centers, hotels, and residential spaces. It acts as a bridge between art and culture with an agenda to bring people together to a space envisioned for economic development.
Gensler’s concept of culture valley originated from the motive to make Yulin Grand Theatre the genius loci and connect it with the art squares and commercial zones. The destination blends art, culture, and commerce to escalate the footfall and generate revenue.
The hexagonal footprint of the building sits on the undulating terrain of the terraced fields. And, the cascading sequence and the zig-zag exterior profile of the buildings are inspired and meant to resemble the natural topography. Along with the inclined extrusions of metal cladding, the facade has curtain walls to maintain transparency between the interior and the exterior. The fusion of metal with glass generates magnificent and appealing visuals of the building.
The facilities include an opera house, event spaces, a multifunctional theater, and spaces for community gatherings. And, the Grand Theatre functions in conjunction with Gensler’s community-building agenda.
3. American Kennel Club (AKC) Museum of the Dog
Location: New York
Project Status: Completed in 2019
The AKC Museum aims to emphasize the relationship between the dog and the man. Gensler’s design demonstrates the evolution of the existing museum architecture typology with its reinvented interactive design. The museum has a human-centric design approach generated using modern technological tools that educate people with its digital experience.
The visitors are not just viewers but also are engaged in meaningful activities that engender a unique experience. It is a perfect example of a new-age exhibition gallery that combines fine art with hi-tech interactive display systems.
The digital experience adds life to the museum with its interactive features like ‘Find your match,’ which with facial recognition shows a likely perfect pet for that person. And a ‘Meet the breeds’ touchscreen table to explore and learn the breeds’ features, traits, history, and representations in the collection. The integration of modern display methods with the mission of the AKC brand has played a vital role in aligning the people towards the expedition, which is a result of combining brand design and digital design with interior design.
4. “GameXPloration” at Saint Louis Science Center
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Project Status: Completed in 2018
The 7,500-square-feet exhibition designed by Gensler combines brand design and graphic illustration with interior design. The gaming center posits the evolution of gaming and how gaming impacts people’s lives. People learn about the psychological and neurological impact in a place where people learn to play and play to learn. Initially aimed at teenagers, the museum attracts a multi-generational audience for the kind of experience it engenders.
The gaming center has an open floor plan wherein different spaces flow into each other through which it takes a visitor through five different worlds: The five different worlds are: the introduction to gaming, the rise of computers, the rise of the arcade, the production of a new reality, and the game lab. The design intent is to ignite science and technology learning among teenagers. And, what better way of learning than playing!
5. International Center of Photography | Gensler
Location: New York
Project Status: Completed in 2020
The International Center of Photography is an institution dedicated to photography and visual culture. Gensler’s design proposal for the center incorporates a museum and photography school under one roof. With the curtain walls on the front facade making the activities visible on the outside, the museum draws people from the rapidly developing Essex crossing on the east side of Manhattan. The building combines visual curatorial spaces with an education hub to escalate footfall and yield a distinctive experience.
The facility consists of galleries, an extensive research library, and the school, including digital media labs, digitally equipped classrooms, darkrooms, a photo equipment room, and a shooting studio. The ground floor houses a cafeteria and a bookshop and primarily serves as a dominant passive space that connects to other facilities. The galleries are double-height spaces abutting the building envelope, letting light in through the facade glazing. Gensler’s idea of designing the galleries also to function as event spaces make the center so dynamic.
6. Yantai Ba Jiao Bay Culture Exhibition Center
Location: Yantai, Shandong Province, China
Project Status: Competition project
The center situated in Shandong province is known for its swiftly developing economy and tourism. The exhibition center set here is envisioned to become a magnificent visual marker in the Yantai city center development program. The architecture of the center creates a new skyline for the city’s coastline. Responding to the immediate precinct context, the building blends with the surrounding landscape combining the existing site conditions.
The cultural center’s east block consists of lecture halls and meeting rooms. The block adjacent to it is where the visitors enter the center from the north side and connects itself to the independently open landscape on the west side. This block also houses the main exhibition areas and the entrance halls. The middle Y-shaped block comprises amenities like cafeterias, book bars, lounges, coffee shops, and resting areas.
Lastly, the building at the west also consists of galleries and exhibition spaces. With the integration of culture, exhibition, business, and innovation zones, the center operates as an excellent addition to the central business district.
7. Museo del Oro Precolombino
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Project Status: Completed in 2015
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (in Spanish: Museo del Oro Precolombino), located underneath ‘Plaza de la Cultura,’ has an archaeological collection of artifacts of the Pre-Columbian era. The plaza also has the National Coin Museum on the ground level, after which the visitors enter the subterranean Gold Museum. In the history of Costa Rica, people considered gold a symbol of authority which encouraged the craftsman of the Pre-Columbian period to produce such marvelous artifacts, which make the museum peculiar.
In addition to the museum interior design, Gensler’s proposal also included a souvenir shop (in Spanish: Tienda de Los Museos del Banco Central) for the museum on the ground level. It made the museum more accessible to the visitors and also increased the profits. The increase in the perimeter of the shop enabled the extension of the underground museum. The triangular lattice of the museum ceiling’s extension in three dimensions changed the language of the design, making the spaces more appealing.
Along with the ancient artifacts, the museum also uses modern display techniques to generate an interactive experience. Also, they made sure not to disregard the Pre-Columbian legacy by keeping the design interventions subtle.
8. New Museum of Contemporary Art
Location: Manhattan, New York
Project Status: Completed in 2007
This competition-winning project designed by Gensler and Tokyo-based architecture firm SANAA is an eight-storeyed building of 52,000 square-foot in New York. The form of the building inspired by the language of architecture in Lower Manhattan (surrounding context) has cuboids of varying volumes stacked one on top of the other. As a result, the museum has a contrasting form derived using the same design principles as of the surroundings.
The facade stands out in the skyline because of the built-form and the materials used: white exterior walls are with anodized aluminum mesh on top of it.
9. The Museum of Modern Art
Location: New York
Project Status: Renovation and Addition completed in 2004; Signage and wayfinding program completed in 2019
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, established in 1929, has had many additions and restoration interventions. The latest one in 2004, done by Gensler in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR), is considered the most subtle one. The design challenge for the new proposal was that it must be distinguishable from the existing; to not misrepresent the antiquated proof.
Therefore, the proposal thoughtfully integrated with the existing building fabric uses modern techniques and construction methods to adapt the museum to the present time frame.
The expansion project increased nearly one-third of the existing gallery space and optimized spaces to ensure a smooth flow of museum spaces into each other. Also, the proposal added several requisite pause points in the museum in the form of lounges and cafeterias. Along with expanding the galleries, the proposal gave rise to a connection between the interior and exterior.
Later in 2019, Gensler undertook the signage and wayfinding program to make spaces user-friendly. It intended to ease the conveyance in the museum and establish a hierarchy of different museum spaces. It also involved generating several alternative mobility maps of the ingress, egress, and the overall interior circulation.
The data acquired from the user analysis of the previous additions helped to retrace the circulation patterns. The output stitched the museum campus and made the design more people-centric while concurrently adapting it to the present.
10. Float NYC | Gensler
Location: New York
Project Status: Conceptual Design Proposal
Gensler proposed the New York Float NYC to transform Park Avenue. A project that is urban design at the core forecasts the future of architecture and cities. The project envisioned to address the complexity of the subsequent urban design trends for cities uses artificial intelligence, connected autonomous transportation systems, and advanced-real time sensor technologies to fabricate a passenger cruise on a 105-foot-high buoyant float structure that can host digital screenings.
Although the space frame structure is immotile, the deck is designed in such a way that it can move to pick-up and drop-off the visitors. Float NYC will also have a transit service running through the street of Park Avenue for better accessibility of the proposal. The proposal intends to alleviate the traffic in the busy street by engaging people in a collective futuristic experience. It also adds a new dimension to the hierarchy of open spaces in an urban setting. The project changes the way one perceives architecture and urban design.