Travis Howe

Architecture and Design 

MoCCA: Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

New York, New York

December, 2010

A design ideas competition hosted by for the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The building draws inspiration from the accessible and egalitarian nature of comics to create an environment that can simultaneously engage author and reader in a spacial correlative to the emotional and psychological connection created by the displayed medium.

THE MUSEUM: To present a collection of these works is to provide a deeper understanding of that which we all see in our daily lives but too often dismiss as routine. The museum engages the city at the pedestrian level with a minimal footprint revealing an open plaza connnecting directly to the cafe and retail spaces. A series of glass towers create rows of kiosks along the plaza that can be rented out by the museum to aspiring and independent publishers to build a community market. These same towers emerge from the rooftop as reclusive reading rooms for material from the library or for comics recently purchased in the market below.

THE CITY: In conjunction with the nearby subway, the market helps to foster a pedestrian friendly environment and provides respite from the nearby bridge traffic. Emphasized by the cafe and retail, the plaza engages the public and brings an accessibilty to the museum that is inspired by the works it celebrates.

THE FRAME: No comic or cartoon is without boundries. Whether it is author imposed or demanded by the medium itself as a page, screen, or cell, the frame defines the image and informs the reader. With obvious architectural correlatives the museum now explores the frame in the physical world. Wrapped in a brise soleil with varied apertures, the gallery wall utilizes modern technology to explore the frame and enhance views to the city. By applying a touch sensitive film to electrochromic LCD glazing the occupants create their own vistas of the city.