Joan Krevlin’s involvement with the renowned Children’s Museum of Manhattan began in 1988 as the project architect at Paul Segal Associates for the initial construction of their 38,000 s.f. new home in a former school building. It has deepened through a series of BKSK projects large and small, as the museum has continued its growth, clarifying and evolving its mission over time.
In the initial conversion, funds were prioritized and design efforts directed toward the creation of a striking, playful main exhibit hall, overlooked by a connected mezzanine, which served to announce the presence of a vital new institution on the West 83rd Street. On the upper floors, without costly building configuration changes, a media center, theater, workshops, classrooms, and offices were built.
The most recent substantial building project—which filled in an existing courtyard—was to create a new street entrance, reception, double-height lobby and museum store, add a new main stair hall and expand the exhibit space and administrative offices. The museum is characterized by its presence in the heart of Manhattan, and the materials of concrete, steel and glass were composed as a distillation of the urban environment. Their exposed fasteners and clear tectonic language acknowledge the interest young children have in how the world around them is put together. The double-height space serves as a public square—the central meeting space between the more active exhibit areas.
AIA New York State Merit Award for Excellence in Design, 1990
Margo Jefferson, “A Museum Talks to Children Without Talking Down,” New York Times: April 1999
“New School of Thought,” Architectural Record: 1990
Photos by Peter Mauss