I was keen to see the redesigned Queen’s Art Museum, which is a recent project by Grimshaw, designed out of his New York office. They are one of the current preferred architects for new municipal projects selected when Bloomberg became mayor to improve the quality of civic design. I’ve never been to Queen’s, except en route to the airport. The museum is in a building which was originally constructed for the 1939 World Trade Fair, when all the nations of the world designed pavilions just before the outbreak of war. Half of it was a skating rink and half a museum, with a grand model of the whole of New York. It was upgraded again for the 1964 World Fair, a moment of grand technological utopianism promoted by corporations like Johnson Wax, Disney and Kodak, and now the building has been opened up to natural daylight with galleries which are like booths inside.
The museum is visible from the expressway:
Inside is a system of slats to control the daylight (Burro Happold as lighting engineers):
Outside is a surviving monument of the 1964 Fair:
Best of all is the amazing model of New York and its five boroughs, showing the full extent of the city beyond Manhattan:
It still shows the twin towers: