Architecture News: Letter from the US

The sluggish economy has been the big story in the US for the last two years - one of delayed building starts, budget cuts and architecture firm layoffs. Given this recessionary landscape, you might expect the cultural arts to be struggling. To be sure many organizations are barely scraping by, but a number of institutions are not only thriving, but also growing and expanding.

In the past few months we've seen no fewer than four museums across the country open significant new extensions, authored by top domestic and international architects. Even Florida, one of the hardest hit states, opened a new symphony space. And universities still offer opportunities for rigorous design experiments - both new buildings and cutting-edge installations. Together these institutions have contributed some startling additions to America's architectural landscape in recent years. Here we bring you some of the highlights.

House exterior

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (opens in new tab): Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University, Providence, RI

Designed as a hub for interdisciplinary arts and collaboration, Brown University's zinc-clad Granoff Center is arranged around an atrium. 'Living room' lounge spaces spin off the six split-levels cross the central space. Media labs, recording studios and classrooms weave into the program. In a signature DS+R move, the 218-seat auditorium is viewable and digitally networked to the exterior amphitheater, allowing for video projections to stream simultaneously inside and out.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Perry and Marty Granoff Center

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Brown University, Providence, RI

Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (opens in new tab): Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

With its lawn-covered roof tilted at a jaunty angle, the Hypar Pavilion is the most recent opening at Lincoln Center. The 11,000-square foot pavilion houses a 194-seat restaurant and bar. Glazed walls allow diners a view over the redesigned piece of modernism, a composition that includes the renovated Alice Tully Hall, The Juilliard School, and the public plaza.

Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Hypar Pavilion

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Hypar Pavilion

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Hypar Pavilion, Lincoln Center, New York

New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

Frank Gehry: New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

Celeb conductor and NWS artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas turned to Gehry to design a new concert hall and training facilities for emerging musicians. Inside the 100,641-square-foot building, rehearsal rooms and flexible performance spaces tumble around a 6-story atrium. Less flashy than the iconic Disney Hall, geometric flourishes are contained behind a glass and plaster facade. Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 designed the adjacent, bougainvillea-filled Lincoln Park. At night, video programming projects from the park and animates the all-white edifice.

Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Tomas Loewy)

Frank Gehry: New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

Frank Gehry

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

Frank Gehry

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

Frank Gehry: New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

New World Symphony

(Image credit: Claudia Uribe)

Frank Gehry: New World Symphony, Miami Beach, Florida

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

(Image credit: Museum of Fine Arts Boston)

Foster + Partners (opens in new tab): Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

A mash-up of neoclassical stateliness and refined modern lines, the Museum of Fine Arts now has a new Art of the America's wing and renovated galleries. Foster's scheme is centered on a light-filled courtyard framed by two stone and glass pavilions, and adds 120,000 square feet to the institution.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

(Image credit: Chuck Choi)

Museum of Fine Arts

(Image credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

Museum of Fine Arts exterior

(Image credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

(Image credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

(Image credit: Nigel Young/Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners (opens in new tab): Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

Located just a block away from the New Museum, Foster’s meticulously detailed Sperone Westwater Gallery brings nine floors of high-style art space to the once-gritty Bowery. Stepping off the street, visitors find themselves standing uncannily under an elevator-like gallery. The 12 by 20-ft moving room stops at each of the five light-filled exhibition floors.

Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Sperone Westwater Gallery

(Image credit: TBC)

Sperone Westwater Gallery interior

(Image credit: TBC)

Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Foster + Partners: Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York City

Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

(Image credit: HOK/Moris Moreno)

HOK (opens in new tab): Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

Blobs and spirals push the expansion and renovation of the Dali Museum into Surrealistic territory. Triangulated glass forms seem to melt the boxy, 58-foot-high façade. Galleries house more than 2,000 works by Salvador Dali. They're reached by an expressive staircase that ends in a formal gesture that recalls the signature twist of the artist's moustache.

Dali Museum exterior

(Image credit: TBC)

Exterior view of Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

(Image credit: TBC)

Dali Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

Dali Museum interior

(Image credit: TBC)

Dali Museum interior

(Image credit: TBC)

Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

(Image credit: TBC)

Dali Museum

(Image credit: TBC)

HOK: Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

(Image credit: Museum of the Moving Image)

Leeser Architecture (opens in new tab): Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

With a three-story addition, Thomas Leeser takes the Museum of the Moving image from celluloid to digital. The existing storefront, now emblazed with the museum's moniker, gives way to streamlined galleries attuned to the virtual. A tube-like ramp leads to an Yves Klein-blue auditorium articulated in triangular panels. Here, the audience waits for the kaleidoscopic curtain by artist Cindy Sirko to part and reveal the silver screen.

Leeser Architecture: Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Museum of the Moving Image

(Image credit: TBC)

Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Leeser Architecture: Museum of the Moving Image, New York City

Moss Letterusa

(Image credit: TBC)

Majestic installation

(Image credit: TBC)

Majestic installation

(Image credit: TBC)

Tobais Purth and MOS: Majestic installation, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio

Resnick Exhibition Pavilion

(Image credit: Alex Vertikoff/Museum Associates/LACMA)

Renzo Piano Building Workshop (opens in new tab): Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Piano's travertine-clad, single-story structure adds 45,000 sq ft of flexible gallery space to LACMA's 20-acre campus. North-facing saw-tooth skylights light the interiors designed to accommodate both multiple exhibitions and large-scale artworks. Scuptural HVAC units, painted bright red (and set in a landscape designed by Robert Irwin) recall Piano's Centre Pompidou in Paris, his early functionalist collaboration with Richard Rogers.

Resnick Exhibition Pavilion exterior

(Image credit: TBC)

Renzo Piano Building Workshop

(Image credit: TBC)

Renzo Piano Building Workshop: Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University, New York City

(Image credit: Michael Moran)

Rafael Moneo: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University, New York City

Moneo's Op-Art take on science incorporates a structural feat: the building bridges 130 ft over an existing gymnasium to support seven floors of laboratory space and a column-free library. The Broadway façade expresses the truss system in a series of louvered glass and aluminum curtain wall panels, while the opposite, campus-facing elevation is a glass expanse. Rafael Moneo Valles Arquitecto collaborated with Moneo Brock Studio and Davis Brody Bond Aedas to bring the project to fruition.

Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University, New York City

(Image credit: TBC)

Northwest Corner Building exterior

(Image credit: TBC)

Northwest Corner Building exterior

(Image credit: TBC)

Northwest Corner Building

(Image credit: TBC)

Columbia University

(Image credit: TBC)

Rafael Moneo

(Image credit: TBC)

Rafael Moneo: Northwest Corner Building, Columbia University, New York City

Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

(Image credit: TBC)

Tim Durfee (opens in new tab) and Like Now: The Rather Large Array, Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

Created for the exhibition 'MADE UP: Design's Fictions', The Rather Large Array weaves an architecture out of data line, power cords, and PVC piping. 24 cameras and 72 lights are caught in the 75-foot long proverbial net. They capture and record images of the exhibition and gallery visitors, then send the graphical output to printer to produce a catalog in real time. The structure also supports a 50-ft long, 1 ton Douglas Fir beam, which, in turn, supports half a dozen computer monitors.

Art Center College

(Image credit: TBC)

Tim Durfee and Like Now: The Rather Large Array, Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

(Image credit: TBC)

The Rather Large Array, Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

(Image credit: TBC)

California

(Image credit: TBC)

Tim Durfee and Like Now: The Rather Large Array, Art Center College of Design Wind Tunnel Gallery, Pasadena, California

Samitaur Tower Culver City, California

(Image credit: TBC)

Eric Owen Moss Architects (opens in new tab): Samitaur Tower Culver City, California

Standing 72 ft tall, the Samitaur Tower keeps a lookout over redeveloped Culver City. Five large steel rings combine to form a structure that resembles piece of infrastructure from a distopic future. Located at a key intersection and across from the new light rail station, it is a media hub. Ten digital projectors installed within each tower floor broadcast art and information to the local culturati and Los Angeles drivers passing by on the freeway.

Samitaur Tower Culver City, California

(Image credit: TBC)

Samitaur Tower Culver City exterior

(Image credit: TBC)

Samitaur Tower Culver City, California

(Image credit: TBC)

Eric Owen Moss Architects: Samitaur Tower Culver City, California