The publication recognized the Museum’s West Building—designed by New York–based architects Thomas Phifer and Partners and North Carolina–based landscape architects Surface 678 (then Lappas + Havener)—which opened in 2010. The list of 125 buildings was created by Architectural Record editors to commemorate the magazine’s 125th anniversary.
“The Museum is honored to be recognized by Architectural Record, one of the most distinguished and world-renowned architectural publications,” says NCMA Director Lawrence J. Wheeler. “We’re incredibly proud to be ranked among such significant and innovative buildings from around the globe.”
Glass and aluminum-clad with striking simplicity and state-of-the-art environmental features, the Museum’s West Building has an open floor plan reinforcing connections to art across time and culture. Adjacent to the 1983 building designed by Edward Durell Stone, the single-story building was created specifically to showcase the Museum’s wide-ranging permanent collection and features a central sculpture hall and 40 galleries.
With the exterior 50 percent glass, the 127,000-square-foot space has an innovative day lighting system to bathe the collection in an even glow of natural light, illuminating colors in Old Master paintings as originally intended. Landscaped sculpture gardens, courtyards, and reflecting pools surround the building and connect seamlessly to the Museum’s 164-acre Park.
“It was a privilege to work with the architectural firm Thomas Phifer and Partners on the planning and creation of our West Building,” says the NCMA’s director of planning and design Dan Gottlieb. “It showcases our collection in a setting equal to the quality of the artwork it contains. The elegance of its day-lit galleries and garden courtyards perfectly embodies our philosophy of connecting art, nature, and people.”
This fall, six years after the opening of West Building, the NCMA completes a redesign and transformation of the Museum campus by expanding the NCMA Park. The project—which introduces a new elliptical lawn, tree-lined parking, contemporary gardens, a promenade connecting Park and galleries, and significant public art installations by international artists—continues the NCMA’s mission of providing memorable, creative encounters with both art and nature.
The North Carolina Museum of Art's 164-acre campus includes two gallery buildings and the NCMA Park, which features outdoor art installations, discovery gardens, community gathering spaces, and paved trails that connect with Raleigh's Greenway system.