NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's massive Building 6 has been named Building of the Year: Northeast by The Architect's Newspaper.
Archpaper.com announced its Best of Design Awards 2017 on Dec. 4.
"The buildings' massive size, along with the complex's interlocking courtyards, bridges, and walkways, offer the opportunity to experiment with open spaces, structural elements, and connections," wrote Archpaper, in encapsulating the reasoning behind the award.
The 130,000 square foot structure, named the Robert W. Wilson Building, was opened this past spring. The opening doubled the space of the museum, making it again the largest contemporary art museum in the nation.
Building 6 was the third of three phases to reclaim the empty former Sprague Electric mill, and Arnold Print Works before that. Opened in 1999, the museum was a striking example of the potential reuse of the region's industrial past.
Building 6 was designed by Bruner/Cott Architects and the construction manager was Gilbane Building Co. The renovation of what was three floors of empty space along the Hoosic River was made possible by a $25.4 million state grant and fundraising of nearly $40 million more.
Building 6 opened with great fanfare on May 28 and features long-term installations and changing exhibits by artists Laurie Anderson, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Robert Rauschenberg, Gunnar Schonbeck and James Turrell.
Bruner/Cott also did earlier phases of the museum, ensuring that the buildings' industrial heritage was visible. This third phase opened up areas covered over during the Sprague era, created a two-story room filled with light at the "prow" section of the boat-shaped building and included a bike/pedestrian pathway through the north side of the building to accommodate a future bridge and bike path.
"I think our architect, Bruner Cott & Associates, have done an absolutely brilliant job exposing the buildings and letting them be used," museum Director Joseph Thompson said during a tour of the building before it opened. "We like sidelights ... we like being able to look out ... one of the great things about this new circulation pattern is it exposes views to the inside courtyards as you walk and to the neighborhoods and the hills."
Also part of the renovation were structural engineers ARUP; acoustics, Acentech; mechanical engineer, Petersen Engineering; and code consultant, Cosentini Associates.
Morris Adjmi, principal of Morris Adjmi Architects, and juror for competition, said, "It's refreshing to see an approach that embraces the existing buildings and not only finds new, dramatic spaces to exhibit art, but creates new spaces where none previously existed."
This year's Best of Design Awards had 42 categories and more than 800 submissions. Mass MoCA was one of only two Buildings of the Year that were not college or university buildings, the other being a pair of twisty condominium towers in Coconut Grove, Fla.
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