George Howe, William Lescaze The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Scheme 4, First Variation) 1930

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 519 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

In 1930, Howe and Lescaze were invited to speculate on the ideal configuration of a new building for The Museum of Modern Art. They generated several schemes, finding different ways to bring light into the galleries. This solution, the fourth and most experimental, separates the galleries into independent horizontal blocks, stacked above one another at right angles. Two sets of columns, tied by beams at each gallery level, support this configuration.

Within each gallery, daylight and artificial light are combined in an adaptable light-mixing chamber placed just above the ceiling, which acts as a diffusing scrim. The chambers, visible at the roof line of each gallery unit, are glazed to admit daylight. The opaque external walls of the galleries are clad in marble or white glazed brick. While there are no conventional windows in the galleries, views to the outside are provided in the separate glass-enclosed support tower for stairs and elevators.

Gallery label from 75 Years of Architecture at MoMA, 2007.
Wood, plastic and metal
33 x 12 x 16 3/4" (83.8 x 30.5 x 42.5 cm)
Gift of Della Rothermel in honor of John Petrik Rothermel
Object number
Architecture and Design

Installation views

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