The Museum of the City of New York was given 18 months by the New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to restore life into the abandoned Seaport Museum, with hopes of preserving the eminence of the institution’s collections – reestablishing it once more as a cultural landmark on the waterfront. Closed for over a year, the museum needed a complete transformation, and despite modest public funding, expectations were high. Work included the installation of sixteen new exhibitions, a clear wayfinding graphic concept, a large site-specific art installation, a museum store, information desk, and a range of other new furnishings.

The design set a bold new series of interventions against the historic brick and timber construction. While the interventions with their strong forms and singular themes are different in character than the existing architecture, the dialogue is one of respect. Blue and white are used to show the new pathways and instill a strong internal logic on the maze of rooms that weave through seven buildings on four levels. Central to the experience is a large art installation, Waterline, which metaphorically symbolizes the City’s commitment to the institution and the eminence of the waterfront in its history.