New York, NY

New Museum of Contemporary Art


The New Museum of Contemporary Art is the first major art museum constructed from the ground up in Lower Manhattan. The building can accommodate larger and more numerous exhibitions than the museum’s former space. The column-free interior houses exhibition space, a media center, an auditorium, library, classrooms, and offices. SGH was the structural engineer of record and consulted on the building enclosure design for the 60,000 sq ft, eight-story building.

Conceptually, the building consists of a series of rectangular boxes shifted off axis in different directions and at every shift a skylight occurs. The building is clad with extruded aluminum panels covered with an expanded aluminum mesh. For this project, SGH:

  • Designed an exterior, steel braced-frame structural system with story-deep trusses allows for a column-free interior
  • Employed structural steel beams that are exposed at all skylights and at the full-floor gallery spaces on three floors
  • Worked on a design-build approach for cladding, windows, curtain walls, and skylight systems and consulted with the team to specify building enclosure systems that satisfy the museum’s high-humidity requirements
  • Maximized ceiling heights by coordinating with the team on more than 150 beam penetrations for mechanical ducts and piping
  • Fast-tracked the design of a 3 ft thick mat foundation that incorporates the elevator and ejector pits
  • Designed an exterior, steel braced-frame structural system that carries gravity loads at the offset “boxes” and transfers wind or seismic forces across the skylights

Project Summary



Completion Date


Project Size


New Construction
Building Enclosures | Structures
Culture & Entertainment
Specialized Capabilities
Building Design | Building Science | Facades & Glazing

Key team members

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien
Building Technology Division Head, New York
James Parker
James Parker
Chief Executive Officer
Kevin Poulin
Kevin Poulin