Institute of Contemporary Art
Institute of Contemporary Art

INSTITUTE
OF
CONTEMPORARY
ART

The ICA is the first museum to be built in Boston in 100 years. The 65,000 sf building includes temporary and permanent galleries, a 330 seat multi–purpose theater, a restaurant, bookstore, education/workshop facilities, and administrative offices. It straddles the competing objectives of a dynamic civic building for public programs and an intimate, contemplative environment for viewing art. The site is bound on two sides by the Harbor Walk, a 47–mile public walkway. The Harborwalk is used as a civic surface that extends up to form the public grandstand, flattens into the theater stage, and wraps the surfaces of the theater extending into a horizontal tray that holds the gallery and shelters the grandstand. The waterfront is both a great asset for the museum and a distraction from its inwardly focused program. A choreographed passage through the building dispenses the visual context in small doses. Upon entry, the view is compressed under the belly of the theater, then scanned by the glass elevator, used as a variable backdrop in the theater, denied entirely in the galleries, and revealed as a panorama at the crossover gallery. The mediatheque suspended under the cantilever edits the context from view, leaving only the texture of water. The Institute of Contemporary Art is a collaboration with Perry Dean Rogers as Associate Architect.

video placeholder

  • View of the ICA’s Public Grandstand, an upward extension of Boston Harborwalk, with mediatheque above
    View of the ICA’s Public Grandstand, an upward extension of Boston Harborwalk, with mediatheque above
    View of the ICA’s Public Grandstand, an upward extension of Boston Harborwalk, with mediatheque above
  • ICA’s 325-seat theater, where operable glazed walls can be controlled to accommodate performance needs
    ICA’s 325-seat theater, where operable glazed walls can be controlled to accommodate performance needs
    ICA’s 325-seat theater, where operable glazed walls can be controlled to accommodate performance needs
  • View from ascending elevator with the Harborwalk and the overhang of the Mediatheque in the background
    View from ascending elevator with the Harborwalk and the overhang of the Mediatheque in the background
    View from ascending elevator with the Harborwalk and the overhang of the Mediatheque in the background
  • Gallery featuring work by Anish Kapoor
    Gallery featuring work by Anish Kapoor
    Gallery featuring work by Anish Kapoor
  • Gallery featuring work by Anish Kapoor
  • Mediatheque
  • Stairwell as seen from above
  • Founders gallery
  • No description
  • No description
  • No description
  • No description
Project information
Size (GSF)65000LocationBoston, United States
Milestones
completed2006groundbreaking2003
Credits
PrincipalElizabeth Diller,Ricardo Scofidio,and Charles Renfro
Project TeamJesse Saylor,Flavio Stigliano,Deane Simpson,Eric Howeler,and Matthew Johnson
External credits
Perry Dean Rogers and PartnersAssociate Architects
Seamus Henchy and AssociatesProject Management
Skanska USAGeneral Contractor
Fisher Dachs AssociatesTheater Consultant
Jaffe Holden AcousticsAcoustical Consultant
ArupLighting
    Photography by Nic Lehoux,Isabelle Groper,ICA,and Iwan Baan