Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Someone Else's Shangri La

The museum Edward Durell Stone designed at 2 Columbus Circle had a marble facade contoured to the odd shape of the tiny, curved block. Most of each side was solid, but arriving at the corner, the edges were perforated with holes, creating a dotty borner running all the way around the building. When the Museum of Arts and Design hired Allied Works to renovate and resurface the building, those porthole windows were the first to go, replaced by long, narrow strips of glass that afford a better view of the circular traffic, and which wrap up, down, and across the new walls and floors. Circles, the first-floor lollipops, the top-floor Venetian arches, all these vaguely Islamic touches were banished in favor of neo-modern linearity. Only in the basement auditorium do circles still reign.