CCS Bard Hessel Museum

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA

The campus of Bard College is located on 500 acres adjacent to the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Within this pastoral setting, the original Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS), a 38,000-square-foot building, brought four distinctly different but related functions together into a single architectural composition: galleries for the exhibition of art, a library and teaching wing, a scholar and faculty wing, and a fully conditioned storage space. In 2001, the decision was made to build additional galleries for the exclusive exhibition of work from the Marieluise Hessel Collection, a private collection of modern art.

The goal of the museum is to provide a contemplative atmosphere to study curatorial sciences related to contemporary art. The gallery design establishes a distinctive, modern aesthetic consistent with the museum’s educational mission to promote curatorial training in modern art. Programmed spaces for display, teaching and study are expressed through massing, scale and composition. Exhibition facilities include a foyer gallery, two large galleries, a gallery for video art, and one for prints and drawings.

The terra cotta exterior of the new galleries relates to the masonry enclosure of the original building. Pronounced, angled skylights fill the new permanent collection gallery with natural light. The new and original buildings are joined by a clear, inviting entry fronting a landscaped plaza.