Following a series appeals to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and eventual approval in June 2020, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) will soon debut at 361 Central Park West on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Architect of record FXCollaborative has released new renderings of the museum, which will occupy a former church and New York City landmark.
CMOM also announced its partnership with Local Projects, a New York-based design studio that will oversee exhibition and experiential design.
FXCollaborative focused particularly on a respectful transformation of the historic building into a broadly accessible public space. To that end, the ornate masonry façade is largely left intact with the exception of existing stained glass windows and doorways.
All stained glass windows will receive new bronze frames, mullions, and the glass borders will be repaired and restored along each elevation. To improve the flow of natural light, the central stained glass window will be replaced with clear, avian-safe glass.
The apex of the structure will house a mix of performance and workshop spaces. To both illuminate the roof-level spaces and diminish street-level visibility, the design team will reconstruct the church’s terra cotta roof, insert demure glass sections beneath, and install a hidden skylight.
As previously documented by YIMBY, The First Church of Christ Scientist was originally completed around 1903 and achieved landmarked status in 1974. At that time, the majority of the congregation voted against a landmark designation of the building, which they foresaw as a great complication to future renovation, capital improvement, or expansion projects.
The congregation eventually sold the church for $14 million in 2004. When CMOM acquired the gutted property, all plaster details and wooden benches were already dismantled.
The new museum is currently on schedule to meet its planned 2023 debut.