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    New Museum Celebrates the American Fleet

    by ArchitectureWeek

    New York's new Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum Visitors Center, by the architecture firm Suk Design Group LLP was constructed in a brief nine months. Despite the challenges of building on the waterfront, it was completed this summer just in time to celebrate the Tall Ships 2000 visit to the northeastern seaboard.

    The 18-year-old museum is a collection of naval vessels on permanent display docked in the Hudson River at Pier 86. It commemorates the United States Armed Forces and promotes public awareness of the history and future development of the sea, air, and space sciences.

    The museum is named for the aircraft carrier, the Intrepid, which served in the Philippines during World War II. The museum complex also includes the submarine U.S.S. Growler, the destroyer U.S.S. Edson, and numerous rare aircraft and interactive exhibits.

    The new 18,000 square-foot (1700 square-meter), $5.5 million visitor center is part of the museum's capital improvements master plan, which has the goal of doubling visitor attendance in next five years.

    The two-story visitor center, which was built by Plaza Construction Corporation, houses a ticketing area, self-guided tour equipment, a McDonald's restaurant, and a vastly expanded museum store. It replaces the original 3,000 square-foot (280 square-meter) entrance building that opened with the museum in 1982.

    "We purposely wanted to keep the building simple," says William Suk, AIA, managing principal of the Suk Design Group. "We didn't want it to become a distraction to the sight lines of the Intrepid, which is the primary exhibit of the entire museum."

    Central to the new building is the two-story atrium, with a north-facing glass wall, where patrons first enter to purchase their tickets. The atrium is punctuated by canopies at each end to indicate the museum's entry and exit points.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    The glassed atrium serves as entry point to the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum aboard the aircraft carrier the Intrepid.
    Photo: Holly Carson, Suk Design Group

    ArchWeek Photo

    The two-story atrium space.
    Photo: Holly Carson, Suk Design Group

     

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