The final shape this week (see previous mountain, egg and seashell) is a bit of a complicated one. It’s the new MOCA Cleveland designed by Farshid Moussavi. The ground plan of the museum’s new space is a hexagon while the roof plan of the project is a square. The triangular and trapezoidal faces of the facade meet the vertices and sides of the both planes, forming an irregular dodecahedron rendered in polished black stainless steel and glass. It’s quite stunning.
The museum is the first major US project by London-based Farshid Moussavi who has been influencing budding architects here in the states as a professor at Harvard, UCLA, Columbia and Princeton. If her name sounds familiar, she was half of the firm Foreign Office Architects and has completed several books including the Function of Ornament and the Function of Form.
Visitors to the museum step their way though the vertical atrium and arrive at the main gallery space on the top floor. There, where you might except to find gallery spaces trying their hardest to be a white cube, you’ll find that the exterior walls and ceiling are deeply and intensely blue. The architect says that the blue “evokes the sky or a sense of boundlessness” which is an exciting way to conceptualize an art gallery even if the built work doesn’t quite achieve the depth and expansiveness the architect had in mind.
But the museum is also an urban-scaled sculpture and an exciting addition to the Cleveland landscape. The dark dodecahedron will look stunning against the white snow (Cleveland averages almost five feet of snow, annually.) And the museum will reflect its surroundings on the shiny surfaces of its faces, energized by the urban activity into which is has fallen like a polished rock.