studio other spaces' 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA

studio other spaces' 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA

‘common sky’ by studio other spaces at Buffalo AKG Art museum

 

Studio Other Spaces (SOS), founded by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, has unveiled ‘Common Sky’, a canopy of glass and mirrors that envelops the courtyard of the Seymour H. Knox Building at the  Buffalo AKG Art Museum in New York. The work of art serves as a striking addition to the museum’s expansion and seamlessly complements the ongoing refurbishment of the historic campus, led by OMA.

 

This project seamlessly merges sculpture and architectural design to celebrate the sky as a collective entity, while establishing an inviting public space that embodies the inclusive vision of a modern art institution. The glass roof acts as a transformative lens, fostering a deep connection between visitors and their immediate environment. Through its lens, the installation accentuates the ephemeral qualities of the atmosphere, showcasing the mesmerizing interplay of seasonal changes, dappled light, and captivating cloud formations.

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
the Seymour H. Knox building | image by Marco Cappelletti provided by the Buffalo Art Museum AKG, OMA, Cooper Robertson, and Studio Other Spaces

 

 

A Dynamic Fusion of Reflection and Movement

 

Covering the courtyard of the Seymour H. Knox Building, this project by Studio Other Spaces (find more here) artfully employs alternating mirror and transparent glass panels to accentuate the role of physical movement in shaping space. As visitors engage with the installation, they become part of the artwork, co-creating fragmented perspectives that span both inward and outward. The mirrors, positioned at various angles, create mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic reflections that frame unexpected views, constantly evolving as people traverse the courtyard.

 

‘Common Sky is a dynamic, sculptural statement that combines a geometric language and a playful, poetic approach. As an artwork, it sensitizes you to the world outside, to the surrounding environment of Buffalo. It draws your attention to things that are difficult to measure, to things that depend on emotion and on your active involvement. If you don’t get involved, nothing will change,’ shares Olafur Eliasson. 

 

‘The structure forms a unique design that takes into account all of the surrounding elements from the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the park, and neighboring buildings. We created a site-specific artwork that amplifies the existing situation and combines it with the idea of a Modern courtyard. We hope visitors enjoy this new space that is accessible to everyone all year round, in all weather conditions, without a ticket, and where public events can be held,’ adds Sebastian Behmann.

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
view of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum | image by Marco Cappelletti provided by the Buffalo Art Museum AKG, OMA, Cooper Robertson, and Studio Other Spaces

 

The canopy’s geometry traces a deliberate trajectory across the courtyard, transitioning from triangular patterns at the roof’s edges to a hexagonal pattern at its center. With alternating mirror surfaces, the roof structure reflects sunlight, minimizing heat gain for environmental sustainability. This distribution of hexagons and triangles balances the roof’s opening and closing, creating an open and airy space despite nearly half of the surface being closed. Supported by a single off-center point, the structure’s unique funnel-like column symbolizes a memorial to a hawthorn tree that once stood, eliminating the need for a new support system. This feature adds movement and draws in natural elements like rain, snow, leaves, and light.

 

Designed by Studio Other Spaces, Common Sky establishes a strong connection between the historic museum and Delaware Park. Inspired by Buffalo’s weather patterns and Frederick Law Olmsted’s lush landscape, it shapes space using non-classical architectural elements while honoring the original modernist design of the Seymour H. Knox Building. Common Sky’s organic form harmonizes with the surrounding trees, paths, clouds, and sunlight, creating a poetic resonance with the environment.

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
the glass roof acts as a transformative lens | image by Marco Cappelletti provided by the Buffalo Art Museum AKG, OMA, Cooper Robertson, and Studio Other Spaces

olafur-eliasson-common-sky-designboom-full

image by Marco Cappelletti provided by the Buffalo Art Museum AKG, OMA, Cooper Robertson, and Studio Other Spaces

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
the structure’s unique funnel-like column symbolizes a memorial to a hawthorn tree that once stood | image by Marco Cappelletti provided by the Buffalo Art Museum AKG, OMA, Cooper Robertson, and Studio Other Spaces

studio other spaces' 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
rendering of the Common Sky | image by Studio Other Spaces (SOS)

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
the mirrors, positioned at various angles, create kaleidoscopic reflections | image by Studio Other Spaces (SOS)

olafur eliasson's 'common sky' complements buffalo AKG art museum renewal by OMA
Common Sky from above | image by Studio Other Spaces (SOS)

 

 

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project info: 

 

name: Common Sky
artist: Studio Other Spaces (SOS) led by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann
location: Seymour H. Knox Building, Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York

photography: Marco Cappelletti – Studio Other Spaces (SOS)

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