Perkins Eastman | AIGA Headquarters

AIGA Headquarters

New York, New York
AIGA, the professional association for design, has been a critical exponent for design since 1914. Its new headquarters, in the iconic Woolworth Building, signals its continued evolution at the forefront of design advocacy.  

Formerly housed in a large townhouse on Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District, AIGA wanted to foster greater collaboration among its staff in a space that also would serve as a hub for its Board of Directors and 25,000+ members. Functioning as workplace, gallery, resource, archive, and event space, its proximity to Wall Street and City Hall is ideal to promote design thinking in these realms.

Informed by these goals, AIGA’s new space serves not only as an emblem for the profession, but also as a powerful tool to advance design as a vital cultural force and strategic partner. Through a restrained palette, deft interventions to the original infrastructure, and key ornate features revealed from the original neo-Gothic structure, the clean, elegant design functions as “white space,” creating drama without excess—and a framework to showcase members’ work. Thoughtful selection of interior materials and their detailing, lighting controls, daylight harvesting, and more promotes a healthy environment.    

The configuration of the existing space bisected AIGA’s program across a public hallway, presenting a challenge of how to connect these elements and create a dynamic entrance to the Center. The design solution is a three-dimensional icon that bridges the hallway and draws visitors into the space. Featuring a hand-carved logo ripped from the wall of the AIGA Archives and seemingly thrust across the corridor upon a seamless glass pane that frames Lower Manhattan views beyond, this bold gesture—a collaboration with graphic artist Stephen Doyle—connects AIGA’s past and present and signals its forward momentum.