The American Academy in Rome is moving its New York offices to the Dia Art Foundation building at 535 West 22nd Street in October, following nearly three decades adjacent to the Metropolitan Club on East 60th Street. The new space is designed by Tsao & McKown Architects, the award-winning firm cofounded by Calvin Tsao, a 2010 Resident in architecture at AAR and a Trustee since 2012.
The Academy considered a number of spaces in neighborhoods across the city before zeroing in on the Dia space. But it immediately seemed a good fit. “Our new location places us in the midst of one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” AAR President Mark Robbins said. “This new center for the Academy in New York reflects the expansive goals of the institution, one that is at the forefront of the arts and humanities.”
Leaving the leased space from the Metropolitan Club is bittersweet. Countless Fellows will remember interviews for the Rome Prize competition that took place there, along with other events and lectures. The East 60th Street office was full of charm and featured many architectural details, like marble chimneypieces, original moldings, and a unique courtyard. There were also parallels between the New York space and the Academy’s history. The Metropolitan Club was established by one of AAR’s most important early benefactors, J. P. Morgan. And like the Academy’s main building in Rome, the clubhouse was designed by McKim, Mead & White.
Yet the New York office, spread out two-and-a-half separate levels and originally cobbled from what had formerly been residential space in the club’s “annex,” was not always efficient or conducive for collaboration. Public circulation areas also cut through the space. There was a growing feeling that purpose-built office space could better serve the institution’s needs for years to come.
The new headquarters complements the Academy’s robust programs that take place in and around its residential community in Rome. In addition to these activities, the Academy organizes public programs in New York and across the United States, presenting provocative ideas in scholarship and the arts through the work of Rome Prize winners, Italian Fellows, Residents, and Affiliated Fellows. These programs include our Conversations/Conversazioni series, performances, and exhibitions.
We’re grateful for the pro bono support of Tsao & McKown Architects and its staff: Calvin Tsao, Zack McKown, Scott Deng, Richard Rhodes, and Colette Mullan, and Cobus Gauche. Thanks also goes to project manager Jennifer Elsasser. We also want to thank everyone at the Met Club, in particular the kind and dedicated housekeeping staff and doormen who helped make the old office feel more like a home—we will miss them.
Need to send us mail? Donors should make checks payable to the American Academy in Rome and mail to: American Academy in Rome, PO Box 23527, New York, NY 10087-3527. All other mail should be sent to our new office: 535 West 22nd Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10011.