Perkins Eastman Onassis Cultural Center / Perkins Eastman

Onassis Cultural Center

New York, New York
Tucked away in the cellar of the Olympic Tower in midtown Manhattan, beneath a privately owned public space, the Onassis Cultural Center was literally a hidden gem.

Located in the basement, the entrance to the Center was dark and claustrophobic. Our design relocated the entrance and introduced a crisp, all-glass stair that pushes manufacturing boundaries adjacent to an existing water feature, which was re-clad in light stone and glass to bring more light to the cellar space. It created a generous new foyer, suffused with sunlight, and gives the institution a new public façade—visible from the street despite the basement level—a beacon to attract the public to its fine programming. The design also enlarged the galleries and raised the ceilings, all within the existing footprint.

Perkins Eastman transformed the existing street-level atrium, making the public amenities more visible and accessible from the street and transforming it into a more desirable destination for the community.

The design for the Onassis Cultural Center enhances the presence of the Onassis Cultural Center within the Atrium, itself transformed, and increases awareness of this cultural amenity and its exhibits and events.