Studio MDA



Venice, 2018

For the fourth edition of the biennial architecture exhibition “TIME SPACE EXISTENCE”, organized by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, studioMDA showcased four ground-up gallery buildings in Chelsea, New York, including Marianne Boesky Gallery (formerly 303 Gallery), Lisson Gallery, High Line Nine Galleries and the new Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Cast in 4 Acts

The Chelsea area west of 10th Avenue blossomed for decades as an industrial zone, connecting the Hudson River Piers to the freight tracks of the High Line and to the rest of New York City. Following the rezoning and rejuvenation of the Chelsea art district, an urban park replaced the train tracks while elegant buildings replaced what used to be the welcoming Terminal for luxury liners arriving in New York.

studioMDA has selected four projects that follow four acts in design and creation, under and adjacent to the elevated High Line. The new buildings reference the history of the former industrial area and the program dedicated to the display of art with the layering of buildings and nature.

Gallery 01 Pre-Cast Mega Panels, 2013

303 Gallery was the first ground up gallery studioMDA designed under the High Line. The gallery has 8,000 sf over two floors and a large main space with more than 15 ft tall ceilings and skylights. In order to complement the dominating industrial structure of the High Line, the gallery façade was pre-cast in smooth dark grey concrete as a monolithic building.

Gallery 02 Cast in place concrete, 2016

Lisson Gallery is a through lot from 23rd to 24th Street under the High Line. The gallery occupies 9,000 sf and natural light washes the 22 ft high walls. The façade was cast as a continuous wall of white concrete. By using marine grade plywood, minimum seams were achieved, and unlike traditional cast concrete framing, invisible fiber ties were used to avoid a tie-hole pattern.

Gallery 03 Pre-Cast White Bronze, 2018

High Line Nine (HighLine 9) was inspired by the European Passage. Nine galleries and a café are connected with a corridor from 27th to 28th Street. The façade, cast in white bronze, embraces the history of the site, home to a metal recycling yard for over 50 years.

In contrast to the previous galleries casted in concrete, a stone façade cast out of metal was designed. For the creation of a continuous slate façade, a slate paver was scanned to extract the digital DNA in order to print sand molds that were later cast out of white bronze. The result is a testament to the collaborative work between architect and fabricator.

Gallery 04 Cast in place concrete, 2018

Paul Kasmin Gallery elevates the ground plane to the level of the High Line. The roof is punctured with 28 skylights placed symmetrically within a lush green roof. Nature is celebrated above the 20’ high column free gallery space.

The entire building is cast in concrete. The façade is formed out of brushed pine planks, creating the illusion of a wooden structure, heightened by the use of white concrete.

studioMDA has designed 15 art galleries, 11 exhibitions and more than 120 art fair booths. Other galleries by studioMDA include: Anton Kern Gallery, Bortolami Gallery, Carpenters Workshop, David Nolan Gallery, Dirimart (Istanbul) and Richard Taittinger Gallery. Each has its own character and gradient of permeability through different levels of privacy and openness towards the city.

When designing a gallery, an art fair booth or any space of cultural exchange we analyze the traffic flow over time and how people engage with the work. The art displayed is not merely exhibited but its’ existence resonates with the audience. Spaces of display must be designed as catalysts of cultural exchange vital to today’s society.