SOM

SOM

The Skyscraper Museum

The Skyscraper Museum, in Manhattan’s Battery Park City, occupies a small storefront space that aspires to the large scale of its subject — the history and development of the skyscraper. The mirror-polished stainless steel floor and ceiling create the impression of an infinitely vertical space, with reflections of vitrines appearing as soaring volumes within a skyline.

The location and spacing of these volumes varies throughout the museum to symbolize changes in zoning codes over time. Densely packed along the storefront, they embody an initial lack of regulation. Further inside, where the cases are mobile for easy reconfiguration, they mimic the “wedding cake” setbacks adopted by New York City in 1916, as well as the tower-and-plaza formula popularized in the 1950s. For the museum’s canopied entrance, artist James Turrell designed a large-scale “light box” that further invigorates the space.

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