Frederick Fisher
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center
New York


School, Institutions, Museums, Sport & Wellness, Gallery, Art Center,


Designer: Frederick Fisher & Partners, with D.Coriaty and D.Prendergast.
Client: Institute for Contemporary Art, New York.
Builders: Foundation Construction Consultant.
Location: Long Island City, Queens, New York.
Project date: 1995.
Construction date:1997.
Type of work: renovation of a school for use as an exhibition facility.
Surface area of the building: 11,612 m2.
Cost: $ 8,500,000

Frederick Fisher<br>P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center<br> New York ICA Director Alanna Heiss took over the school building in 1976, and, for budget reasons, began exhibiting in the building right away, even though it was practically falling apart; in later years only minimal work was done on the school.
In the '90's, though, the director decided on full renovation of the building, and entrusted the project to Fisher.
The end result is a masonry shell with the appearance of a well-worn, fragmentary skin, which does not hide the complex layering of the building, but rather exalts its archaeological, variegated, délabré aspect: one way of avoiding competition with the works on exhibit - including works by Turrell and Serra - and possibly suggesting other forms of creativity.

Fisher, after all, has considerable experience not only with museums and museum set-ups but also in working directly with artists: his is the name behind such famous museums as the Launder Wing of the Colby Museum of Art in California, or the L.A. Lover Gallery in Venice, as well as studies, lofts and homes for artists, such as the Herman Residence and Studio.
In all these projects the architect demonstrates the same consistent approach as in PS 1: the desire to create a non-invasive context, avoiding emphatic gestures, in order to provide a space which is domestic, neutral, introspective.
The "Spiritual Space" - title of a chapter in the first monograph written on the architect - is created by sensitivity to the context and intended use of a building, requiring him to abandon the "architect's aesthetic" - as Fisher himself has said - in order not to "impose a rational order. Which is always a risky choice".

Elena Franzoia

PS1 Contemporary Art Center
22-25 Jackson Av.
11101, Long Island City, NY
tel. 718.784.2084
e-mail: mail@ps1.org
sito web: www.ps1.org

12248 Santa Monica Blvd.
90025-2518,Los Angeles, California
tel. +1 310 820 6680
fax +1 310 820 6118
e-mail: fredf@ff-p.com


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