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MASS MoCA Master Plan

North Adams, MA

The buildings at MASS MoCA, originally an industrial complex at the edge of downtown, had been abandoned for 10 years and were deteriorating rapidly. The problem was to design a phased plan, creating a new museum on an impossible budget while stabilizing the entire complex. Three strategies emerged: rework the oldest buildings first, bring the visitor as deep into the complex as possible, and retain the most accessible buildings for commercial use.

The Plan envisions the ‘completed’ Museum. Working backward, it develops a phased approach in keeping with the available funding — a State grant with private donations in a 70/30 match. Each building is analyzed for historic import, existing condition, possible use, and cost for reuse/stabilization. The design maximizes the inputs, retaining as much of the original fabric as possible to restore the historic mill complex and create an all-new museum.

The master plan links MASS MoCA with the fabric of North Adams. The goal: to become a catalyst for the downtown redevelopment. The museum’s success has been remarkable; studies show how MASS MoCA has revitalized its surrounding community.


2000     AIA National Honor Award for Design
2000     Historic Massachusetts Eliot Award for Historic Preservation
2000     Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award
2000     National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award
1999     BSA Honor Award for Design Excellence in Adaptive Reuse
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12 acres