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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First-time homebuyer? Follow these steps
Is homeownership a goal of yours? It does offer some benefits, in addition to meeting your basic need for shelter. The equity you build in your home can be a valuable financial asset, and you may get to deduct your interest payments on your taxes. But if you're a first-time homebuyer, what steps should you take?
First, make sure the time is right for you in terms of your personal and financial situations. For example, are you fairly confident that your employment is stable and that your earnings won't decline? Of course, external events can also play a role in your decision. A recent study by Morning Consult and Edward Jones found that 12 percent of respondents postponed purchasing a house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But if you're ready and eager for homeownership, consider the following moves:
Save for a down payment. The more money you put down for a home, the lower your monthly payments, although there's also a point at which overly large down payments can be financially unwise. However, if you can make a down payment of more than 20 percent of the purchase price, you can generally avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments. Also, as a first-time homebuyer, you might qualify for down payment assistance from your local or state housing authority or a nonprofit group.
Check your credit score. A higher credit score gives you a better chance for a lower interest rate. You can request a credit report from annualcreditreport.com, and you might be able to get a credit score for free from your bank. If you need to improve your score, you may want to delay your home purchase.
Learn how much you qualify for – and how much you should spend. Once you think you're ready to begin the home-purchasing process, you may want to contact a few lenders to determine the size of the mortgage for which you qualify. Be aware, though, that just because you can get a mortgage of a certain amount, does not necessarily mean that you should. You don't want to become "house poor" – that is, you don't want to spend so much on your house payments that you are cash strapped and can't afford to save for other goals, such as college for your children or a comfortable retirement. You may want to establish a budget for how much you can readily afford to pay for your mortgage each month – and try sticking to it before you buy the house. If you have extra savings, put it toward your down payment.
Prepare for unexpected costs. You can plan for your mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance – but when you own a home, you'll always encounter unexpected costs. You may need to get a new furnace, repair your roof or face any number of other maintenance issues. To help prepare for these costs, try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Without such a fund, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or take on added debt to pay for these unanticipated expenses.
Homeownership can be a rewarding experience – and the rewards will be even be greater when you've "done the numbers" and prepared yourself financially.
He said the plan was to develop 48 sites as outlined in the original permit but that there may be some modifications of the placement of some buildings in the plans, for which he would come back before the board.
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The Mass MoCA Commission on Wednesday approved the seasonal restaurant to occupy the former Gramercy space, specifically the courtyard near the museum entrance. The restaurant would operate from Memorial Day until some time September.
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