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New York at Its Core

Studio Joseph

Shared By

Victoria Carodine, Hanley Wood

Project Name

New York at Its Core

Project Status



8,000 sq. feet


Museum of the City of New York



  • Wendy Evans Joseph
  • Monica Coghlan
  • Jose Luis Vidalon
  • Jennifer Chu
  • Hannah Pavlovich


  • Lighting Designer: Clinard Design Studio LLC
  • Pentagram
  • Local Projects




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Project Description


The Museum of the City of New York undertook this first-ever permanent exhibition of New York City’s 400-year history in a three-year, iterative, and radically selective process with a multi-disciplinary design team. This brought forward three separate galleries totaling over 9,000SF plus two anteroom media installations. The story is told through object-rich analog displays coupled with immersive media, in an all-encompassing environment, dramatic in its modernity, and reductive in materiality. A palette of materials and textures unites diverse delivery methods. Formal simplicity of planning relies on a base framework of symmetry and balance.
At both ends of a long connective corridor, we designed LED displays with bespoke screens to present “pixelated images” that draw the visitors into the galleries. Seen as “art piece” not a conventional slide show, images become more abstract as one approaches.
Port City 1609-1898
Artifacts and large-scale media are embedded in a bold armature of constructed chronology. Each of the eight niches has “jewel boxes” for archival objects floating above supportive documents. At the rear, a large projected image of the past dissolves to today’s view of the same location, engaging the visitor. Interactive “totems” highlight discrete, unexpected, people and objects, bringing the past to life.
World City 1898- 2012
Moving image dominates a dense presentation of over 400 artifacts. At the center, projections onto scrim use thematic audio of music and voice to portray the excitement of the city. Content emphasizes harsh realities of 20th century challenges mixing iconic characters with untold tales. Visitors touch silhouettes of people with embedded imagery to unpack further content via a large-scale interactive presentation. Black background with reflective, perforated and luminous treatments makes for a dramatic interface with historic objects.
Future of the City Lab 2012-
Big data defines bigger issues of housing, nature, social challenge, environmental issues, and transportation networks. Themes are presented for interactive investigation in an area where visitors can create their own city and then through “Kinects” be in that environment published onto a large media wall. The series of media is complimented by a large What if” table to facilitate further dialogue.
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