Institute of Contemporary Art


Design Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Architect of Record: Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architect

Location: Boston, MA

Total GSF: 63,000 GSF

Completed: 2005

Award: 2007 Harleston Parker Medal


The Institute of Contemporary Art is Boston’s first newly-constructed museum in over a century. The award-winning building, an association with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, connects building to city with expansive views and an outdoor grandstand that links up with the public Harbor Walk. An opaque volume containing galleries cantilevers dramatically over the grandstand and lights up at night to mark the building as a radiant new waterfront presence. The building includes a 325-seat theater, bookstore, restaurant and café.

 Lighting is a critical element of the ICA’s sustainability strategy. A series of serrated north-facing skylights combine with a system of internal scrims to flood gallery spaces with diffuse natural light. Large expanses of glazing offer copious light and views of Boston Harbor to offices, teaching areas, lobby and café. Overall need for artificial lighting is minimal, as evidenced by the building’s dramatically low lighting loads.


Photography © Iwan Baan