A pioneering adaptive reuse project, Mass MoCA breathes new life into a 17-acre industrial complex built in the late 1800s. The museum was completed in three phases, initially opening to international acclaim in 1999. The third and final phase, Building 6, is the realization of the architect's 25-year master plan, which continues Mass MoCA's museums within the museum concept. Two buildings with a combined 130,000sf of undeveloped space create areas for video, film, and multi-media exhibits, as well as events, workshops, and storage. The massiveness of both the buildings and the complex, with interlocking courtyards, bridges, and walkways, offered the opportunity to experiment with open spaces, structural elements, and connections. Within inserted galleries, existing elements, columns, ceilings, and floors are woven into the new. The result is a transparency that encourages experimentation and collaboration within the framework of a place known for centuries as a center for innovation.
Building 6 includes extensive museum support and amenity space. A double height event space opens out to the large south gallery. Greenrooms, a catering kitchen and a large public restroom support outdoor festivals. A public bikeway runs through the building connecting North Adams to adjacent Williamstown. The ground floor doubles workshop space and adds much needed conditioned storage and loading, supporting the museum's installation and art fabrication. A new lightwell is the primary circulation core for Building 6. It is sculpted from a former service alleyway that was incrementally closed in with roofs, floors and ceilings. It connects all three floors of the museum with a variety of stairs and bridges.
The 130,000 square foot project was completed in the spring of 2017 at a cost of $33 million dollars per $253/sf including fit-out and site work. It was funded by a combination of public and private capital.