The Museum of the Dog

New York, America

As featured in Interior Design

"It is accepted wisdom in Hollywood that if a picture is in trouble, you put a kid in it. And if the kid can’t save it, you get a dog. There is no higher adorability factor. Every perk of the ears, every moist look, is the performance of a lifetime. The just-opened American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, housed in a glass office tower in New York, is testament to that truism. From logo (“Arty,” a blue dog) and fine-art installations to interactive stations and a smartphone app, the two-story Gensler-designed museum is a sells-itself celebration of man’s original Best Friend Forever. As part of the project, Gensler also redesigned the AKC’s office headquarters on the fifth floor of the same building. 

Along with designing the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in New York, Gensler also developed interactive attractions such as touch-screen tables that provide visitors with information about specific canine breeds. Photography by Eric Laignel.

In fact, museum design today is essentially experiential. Interactivity and messaging are central to the conceptual architecture of a project. Many of the problems MOD presented, though, were stubbornly analog. Its collection—1,700 works of art, 58 percent of them three-dimensional objects—had to be selectively displayed. The ground-floor gallery is airy—nearly 15-foot ceilings with a double-height atrium around the stairs—but, at 3,980 square feet, tight. And since one side of the triangular plan is a facade window, there was scant wall space to hang paintings. So Gensler installed seven steel-framed partitions for more display surfaces. Resembling large-scale art-academy easels, they pivot 360 degrees and can be reoriented for different exhibitions and events. The inaugural show, “For the Love of All Things Dog,” includes English 19th-century painter Samuel John Carter’s portrait of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with a crop in its mouth: Waiting for Mistress with a Cane. It doesn’t get any more obedient than that."

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