MOMA Building

Get ready to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of modern art at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City! Established in 1929 by three powerhouse women, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan, MoMA has been a leading institution for showcasing the work of unconventional and cutting-edge artists. With its permanent home on 53rd street since 1939, the MoMA building has undergone several renovations, making it a stunning architectural masterpiece.

Discover the history of the MoMA building and its evolution over the years, as you explore the galleries and exhibitions featuring the work of some of the most brilliant modern artists. From the innovative designs of the building's façade to the modern interior spaces, every aspect of the MoMA building is a work of art in itself.

So why wait? Come and experience the incredible journey of MoMA's architecture and art, and discover the wonders of modern art in the heart of New York City!

What is NYC MoMA?

What is NYC MoMA?
  • Dive into the world of contemporary art with MoMA Museum, which boasts an incredible collection of over 200,000 pieces! From mesmerizing photographs to mind-blowing sculptures, this museum has something for everyone.
  • If you're tired of the same old artwork, MoMA Museum is the perfect place to explore unconventional pieces from up-and-coming artists around the world. Who knows? You might just discover the next big thing!
  • From the iconic Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh to the groundbreaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, MoMA Museum features the works of some of the world's most famous artists. Come see these masterpieces in person and experience their beauty up close.
  • Get ready to be wowed by the stunning and diverse collection at MoMA Museum, which includes everything from intricate drawings to larger-than-life installations. Whether you're an art connoisseur or just looking for something new to appreciate, this museum is sure to leave you feeling inspired.

Read More: MoMA Exhibitions

The Beginning of MoMA

The Beginning of MoMA

Step back in time to 1928 when three passionate art enthusiasts, Abby Rockefeller, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Lillie P. Bliss, gathered for a lunch that would change the art world forever. These incredible women shared a vision of creating a space where modern art could be celebrated and showcased to the world. And so, the idea for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was born.

To bring their dream to life, the trio approached A. Conger Goodyear, who agreed to become the first president of the newly formed MoMA Museum in New York City. In 1929, the museum opened its doors to the public in a rented space on the twelfth floor of the Heckscher Building at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue.

But the journey towards creating a permanent home for MoMA was far from easy. Abby Rockefeller's husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr., opposed the museum and refused to provide any funding. Despite this setback, the determined founders secured funds from other sources, leading to frequent changes in location.

Finally, in 1932, MoMA found a five-story townhouse at 11 West 53rd Street, a space owned by Abby Rockefeller and her husband. It was here that the museum began to flourish, but it wasn't until ten years later, in 1939, that MoMA secured its permanent address at the very same location.

Today, MoMA stands as a testament to the vision and determination of three incredible women who believed in the power of modern art to change the world.

Read More: MoMA Collections 

Who Designed MoMA?

Who Designed MoMA?

Discover the evolution of MoMA's architecture throughout the years! From its early days with American architects Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, to the innovative vision of Yoshio Taniguchi in the 2000s, and the recent expansion project led by the acclaimed architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler. See how the museum has grown and transformed, with new skylights and vistas, an education and research complex, and a total area of 708,000 square feet. Join us on a journey through MoMA's architectural history and explore how each architect and designer has left their unique mark on this iconic institution.

Read More: MoMA Drawing and Prints 

MoMA Building Architecture & Design

Here are the Details of MoMA Architecture & Design

Design of MoMA Building
Design of MoMA Building

In 1939, The Museum of Modern Art finally found a permanent home on West 53rd Street after renting spaces for the previous decade. The building was custom-built by American architects Edward Durell Stone and Philip L. Goodwin, with Goodwin being a trustee of the museum. The museum's director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., and architecture curator, John McAndrew, designed the sculpture garden.

Barr advocated for a modern architect to complement Goodwin's traditional style, leading to Stone's involvement in the project. It took four years to complete the construction of the MoMA building, which achieved its goal of popularizing and democratizing modern art by combining modern and contemporary architectural styles with international influences.

Check Out: MoMA Media and Performance

Structure of MoMA Building
Structure of MoMA Building

In May 1939, MoMA finally found a permanent home on West 53rd Street after operating out of rented spaces for a decade. The building was designed by two architects, Goodwin and Stone, who had different styles - Goodwin preferred traditional Beaux-Arts style while Stone favored a more modern approach. However, they managed to merge their styles and create a six-story building made of white marble and a special type of glass called Thermolux. This glass helped to diffuse light in the museum's galleries.

The idea of combining these two styles came from MoMA director Alfred H. Barr Jr, who was inspired by the Bauhaus, an art and design school in Germany. The MoMA building was unique and stood out among the neighboring Beaux-Arts buildings and brownstone townhouses. This design reflected the museum's goal.

Aside from its unique design, the new MoMA building had more than triple the exhibition space, an auditorium for its film program, a library, and two floors of office space.

Check Out: MoMA Film Department

MoMA Building Renovations

Revamped MoMA Building
Revamped MoMA Building

In the late 1990s, the famous Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi submitted his proposal for renovating the MoMA architecture. His design was finally approved and the construction started in 2001, taking three years to complete. The new MoMA architecture was reopened to the public in 2004, on its 75th birthday.

Taniguchi's design added a modern touch to the museum's International style building, while also enlarging the Sculpture Garden. He used precision to achieve a minimalistic and aesthetic look, adding glass panes that surrounded the garden and detaching the curtain walls from the floors to prevent deflection due to heavy foot traffic. This way, visitors could focus on the garden while enjoying the beautiful NYC streets and skyline visible from the galleries.

The galleries were arranged by age, with contemporary works on the ground floor and older ones on the higher floors. Visitors could also enjoy a sky-lit space for temporary exhibitions on the top floor, as well as an atrium connecting the lobby to the Sculpture Garden. With Taniguchi's vision, MoMA's architecture became a beautiful blend of modern and traditional styles, creating a unique experience for visitors.

Ream More: MoMA Photography Department

Reinventing MoMA
Reinventing MoMA

In 2019, MoMA underwent another renovation by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler. The two-phase renovation first focused on the MoMA architecture and new walls, followed by a focus on the new art to be installed on those walls.

The Museum of Modern Art expanded to occupy the space left by the American Folk Art Museum site, adding new galleries with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to flow into the building. This provides visitors with a direct view of the MoMA art while strolling on the street. Additionally, the ground floor and lobby were converted into a public gathering space.

Overall, the exhibition space increased by 30%, but the expansion is more than just about the square footage. It represents a new way of thinking, where the institution is no longer separated into disciplines, but rather offers a collage-like approach to the history of modern art. With this renovation, MoMA has once again reinvented itself, providing visitors with a unique and engaging experience that showcases the best of modern art.

Check Out: MoMA Painting and Sculpture 

Sculpture Garden

Sculpture Garden

Step into a world of art and nature at the Museum of Modern Art's stunning sculpture garden! Back in 1939, the brilliant minds of Director Alfred Barr and Architecture Curator John McAndrew conjured up this garden of wonders in just one night. The space boasted towering sculptures, freestanding screens, and a rustic wooden fence.

Over time, the garden underwent several transformations, including a redesign by the MoMA's Director of Architecture and Design, Philip Johnson, in 1953. The garden was later renamed in honor of one of the museum's founders, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

Despite a decrease in size in 1984 due to expansion, the garden was given new life thanks to Yoshio Taniguchi's renovations. The space was restored to its former glory, with seamless transitions between interior and exterior spaces. Come explore the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, a true masterpiece in the heart of the MoMA!

Read More: About MoMA 

Get the Best Deal of MoMA NYC Tickets

The Museum of Modern Art Admission Ticket
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  • Grab an opportunity to visit the renowned and enormous Museum of Modern Art in New York spread over 708,000 square feet area

  • Get amazed by famous paintings like The Starry Night, Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond, and Soup Cans while roaming around the museum

  • Enhance your knowledge about revolutionary art shown on displays by hearing the significant narrations of the audio guide

  • Enjoy watching various exhibitions in the museum where the combination of creativity and innovation is shown in the artworks

  • Take an amazing tour of MOMA with Museum of Modern Art tickets and admire a range of contemporary & outstanding artwork artwork done by artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, & Jackson Pollock

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Must Know Before You Go
  • ID proof is mandatory for each individual guest at the time of arrival.
  • All foreign nationals must share their passport and visa details at the time of arrival.
  • There is no room to store luggage and/or large bags on this tour. Please leave them at your accommodations or vehicles.
  • Re-entry is not allowed after you leave the venue.
  • Restrooms and baby changing stations are located on every floor.
  • Museum of Modern Art is wheelchair accessible.
  • All-gender restrooms are located on floors 1, 3W, 5, and T1.
  • Guests can bring baby strollers, however strollers are not allowed on the escalators.
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FAQs of MOMA Building

Who designed the MoMA Building in New York?

    The iconic MoMA Building, designed by architects Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, was built in 1939 and established at West 53rd Street. Yoshio Taniguchi led a significant renovation in 2001, expanding the museum's capacity and modernizing the structure. In 2019, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler collaborated on another renovation, further enhancing the building's contemporary design. The MoMA Building remains an outstanding representation of modern architecture and a testament to the museum's commitment to innovation.

When was the MoMA first built?

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When did the last renovation of the MoMA building take place?

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Explore MoMA NYC

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