The 12 Days of Architecture: #6 Boston, USA

The Institute of Contemporary Art by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
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Institute of Contemporary Art completed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in 2006
Institute of Contemporary Art completed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in 2006

Diller Scofidio + Renfro looked to the future when finalising its design for Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). The architectural firm envisioned the building as part of a continuous boardwalk along the edge of the harbour connecting the yet to be built surroundings. Its foresight paid off and the ICA is now part of the South Bay Harbour Walk area, which takes in parks, public art, hotels, cafés and restaurants.

The wood of the boardwalk expands to become a wide seating area and then continues overhead to clad the underside of the galleries. The steel frame of the upper galleries juts out to shelter the public spaces below and at night the glass panels of the gallery spaces glow.

The facade of the new ICA consists of identically sized vertical planks that alternate in composition between transparent glass, translucent glass and opaque metal. The system provides a taught seamless skin that blurs the distinction between walls, windows and doors while responding to the requirements of the interior program.

The 18,000 square feet of permanent and temporary galleries are located on the uppermost level, dramatically cantilevered over the city's public Harbour Walk toward the water; providing a sheltered open space at ground level. The facade of the new ICA consists of identically sized vertical planks that alternate in composition between transparent glass, translucent glass and opaque metal. The system provides a seamless skin that blurs the distinction between walls, windows and doors.

The 18,000 square feet of permanent and temporary galleries are located on the uppermost level, dramatically cantilevered over the city's public HarborWalk toward the water; providing a sheltered open space at ground level

Since the ICA, Diller Scofidio + Renfro's first building in the USA, the New York based firm has gone on to create some very prominent projects including the Hypar Pavillion at the Lincoln Centre and High Line in New York and, most recently, the Clifford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado.


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