MassArt Art Museummassachusetts college of art and design

MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) is Boston’s newest free contemporary art museum, sponsored by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). The museum opened in 2020 as a \\\\"kunsthalle,\\\\" or a gallery that features rotating exhibits without maintaining a permanent collection. In 2015, designLAB was engaged to renovate the existing Bakalar and Paine Galleries on the MassArt campus to serve as the home of the new museum.

The renovation involves a full transformation to the two main gallery spaces and curatorial workshops, as well as a relocation and redesign of staff offices. The project also creates a dedicated entry to the galleries directly off of Huntington Avenue, and improves visitor experience with a new lobby and elevator, ensuring equal access to all spaces. A Gallery Education Studio and seminar rooms on the ground floor support classes, school groups, and community programming for the museum. A new, industry-standard climate control system was installed throughout the galleries, to ensure the safety of the artwork.

Ceilings were torn down in the upstairs gallery to reveal the historic building’s original terracotta vaulting and steel tresses, circa 1906. At 36 feet high, the tresses can support up to 500 pounds each, creating unlimited possibilities for hanging works of art. A staircase leads to a second-level viewing platform, offering a unique perspective on a diverse range of experimental art. Adjacent to the gallery on the second level are the staff office spaces, with floor-to-ceiling windows of the gallery below. Throughout, crisp white textures were used to create a blank canvas for the museum’s rotating exhibits.