Located along the banks of the East River in Long Island City, Queens, the Noguchi Museum stands as a compelling testament to the contemplative spirit of Isamu Noguchi—the Japanese-American artist behind the institution’s inception and early development—whose work ranges from sculptural pieces to collaborative furniture designs. Discreetly nestled in a predominantly industrial area, the museum is composed of various rectangular volumes, all incorporating a modest material palette, consistent with the neighborhood’s nearby structures.
Following an invitational architecture competition held in 2017, the Noguchi Museum decided to entrust B-KD (Büro Koray Duman) with the task of translating its vision into a successfully built project. The New York-based design and architecture practice leverages years of experience in navigating through intricate spatial constraints and activating underutilized urban environments while guiding urban improvements of lasting value. Commissioned to accommodate the institution’s needs for expanded facilities, Büro Koray Duman’s contribution combines clear design solutions with socially conscious ideals.
B-KD’s structure incorporates a wheeling storage facility to house part of the collection while granting access to visitors. This participates in solving any museum’s enduring dichotomy between storage and display while also creating a situation in which the architectural and the social intertwine seamlessly. The new archive center, along with its adjacent flexible event spaces, are designed as places of encounter for the local borough and Noguchi’s community worldwide
The studio’s critical awareness in the context of design experimentation is best described in a recent interview with writer and curator Izabela Anna Moren where Duman notes, “We work across all typologies and scales, favoring a considered and sensitive design approach that applies and critically communicates evidence-based research findings through bold spatial narratives. We act as instigators of change, progress, and innovation.”
As evident in projects ranging from Village Den Café to Urban Canopy, the studio remains committed to engaging a broad audience to experience inclusive spaces for cultural expression that perform in multiple ways. Produced and moderated by creative strategist and entrepreneur Francois-Luc Giraldeau, the conversation focuses on the invigorating power of research, investigative design, and architecture as a social necessity.