The Johnson Museum of Art was designed by I.M. Pei from 1965-73 and sits on the outer edge of the arts quad at the top of Library slope; the massive concrete structure rising from the ground holds a commanding presence over the landscape.

This project proposes an addition to the museum sited on the North side of the building and extends out to the adjacent gorge edge. Rather than trying to compete with the dominance of the existing structure the project removes itself from the existing structure, engaging it physically only through a glass sky bridge that penetrates the North face. The extension is thought of as an annex space for the current building, providing larger more flexible gallery spaces as well as an experimental “black box” gallery that could receive more challenging and innovative conceptual installation art pieces currently unable to be displayed in the museum. While the existing museum operates visually as an eyeball to the landscape through vertical ascension the annex seeks a more tactile approach extending horizontally over the adjacent road, through the trees and to the rocky gorge wall. The building’s form creates a threshold that may be seen as an extension of the formal structure of the Arts Quad itself. At the building’s termination a viewing/ sculpture terrace provides a sheltered more intimate relationship to the surrounding landscape and views of the gorge walls.

Project Type: Speculative
Location: Ithaca, NY
Date: 2002
Project Team: Ryan Ludwig