Affirmation Arts
New York, NY

The Affirmation Arts Foundation seeks to become an “optimal creative stage” for the production and exhibition of diverse studio arts and photographic media by balancing opposing notions of creative freedom and practical constraint. Affirming the social impact of high technology on artistic expression, it continues the philosophical dialectic of nature and technology.


Its location is set by the superimposition of the ordered context established by the Manhattan urban grid and the natural setting defined by a rocky ravine and the Hudson River. The duality of these overlapping contextual fields establishes a dichotomy between nature and technology. Singled out from the expected regularity of its urban street environment, the building façade confronts this dichotomy as an urban-scaled diptych juxtaposing an abstract representation of nature in English-Ivy over a tectonic gridded composition. Already established as a vertical compositional device for the façade, the diptych continues as a sequential compositional guide for the foundation’s internal organization. The dialectic between light and dark opposites is enhanced by the literal transparency of the naturally lit galleries and the dense opacity established by the black monolithic wall that defines the entrance sequence. While sunlight invites further exploration within the building and in the works exhibited there, darkness blocks and hides what remains unknown, waiting to be unveiled and rescued by the imagination.

Affirmation Arts is located west of midtown between the Javits Center and Times Square, in the new the Hudson Yards District. Its broad mission of diverse media calls for flexible spaces with optimal natural light for traditional studio arts or complete room darkening for video display or photographic studio work. Day-lighting design informed glass specifications and shading of all exterior exposures, to optimize natural and artificial lighting. The program divides between exhibition galleries with event support functions and support offices on the lower levels, and more private studio spaces on the upper levels, where the building reorients laterally for views west towards the Hudson River.

CLIENT: Affirmation Arts Ltd.

AREA: 15,000 sf

PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Warchol Photography; Kevin Chu + Jessica Paul Photography

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