New renderings have been released for the new Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which will be located at 361 Central Park West at the corner of 96th Street. The museum’s current and original home, located at 212 West 83rd Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam), reopened to the public in October 2020.
While the initial design plans presented to Community Board 7 in December 2019 were not well received, more recent plans by lead architectural firm FXCollaborative were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee in June 2020.
FXCollaborative will be restoring and redesigning the building, the former First Church of Christ Scientist, which CMOM purchased in 2017 for $45 million. “Marking the first time CMOM will be expanding in forty years, the new building enables the museuim to meet increasing public demand for its programs and triples its existing programmatic space, with approximately 41,300 feet dedicated to exhibitions and programs.”
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The landmarked building was originally designed by the Beaux-Arts firm Carrère and Hastings as The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and was heralded when it opened in 1903 for its forward-thinking design, which prioritized congregational needs over ecclesiastical traditions. The new museum will have a repurposed interior space, while the sculptural volume of the main vault will be preserved.
Four interconnected floors of exhibitions will be added. The museum and FXCollaborative have partnered with design studio Local Projects, which will help the museum create “innovative, family-friendly experiences that draw upon the key pillars of CMOM’s program, including art and creativity, wellness and the environment, science, and world cultures.”
The new CMOM will also feature a roof terrace with dramatic views of the building, Central Park, and the city.
In addition, new wood and glass doors with decorative screen transoms will be added to make the entrances more transparent, and the historic walnut doors will be relocated to the interior of the entry vestibule.
Upon entering the 86,000-square-foot museum building, visitors will have glimpses of the giant barrel vault above as well as of the exhibition spaces interspersed throughout the museum’s four floors.
FXCollaborative will also activate concealed skylights and introduce new roof apertures. The design will also restore the stained-glass windows of the former church, replacing religious iconography with clear glass while preserving their original decorative borders.
CMOM expects to be able to share an update on the project timeline in the coming year.