Inspired Architect James Stewart Polshek

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Architect James Stewart Polshek. The Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Architect James Stewart Polshek. The Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. ((c) Jeff Goldberg/Esto/James Stewart Polshek)

Architect James Stewart Polshek, whose works include the Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Newseum in Washington, D.C.,  discusses his life’s work and the process of designing buildings. He also served as the dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1972 to 1987. His book Build, Memory is about witnessing changing architectural tastes, working with numerous high-profile personalities, and designing some of America’s most prominent buildings, including the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the renovation and expansion of Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Teijin Institute for Biomedical Research, 1962-64. Sand Garden.

New York State Bar Center, Albany, New York, 1968-71.

United States Embassy, Muscat, Oman, 1981-91.


Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1988-98.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Greenpoint, New York, 1990-2014.

New York Times Printing Plant, College Point, New York, 1993-97.

Carnegie Hall Main Stage. New York, 1978-2003.

Newseum/Freedom Forum Foundation World Headquarters, Washington, DC, 2000-08.

Seamen's Church Institute, New York, 1988-91.

The Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1994-2000.


James Stewart Polshek

Comments [6]

Missy from NYC

Does he like the new WTC tower?
It makes me miss the twins even more when I look at it

Apr. 29 2014 01:58 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'd never heard of Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility! I'm glad to know it exists, & I appreciate Mr. Polshek's role in its founding.

Apr. 29 2014 01:48 PM
tom barlow from astoria

I paint pictures of NYC architecture on site all over the city, and I find that a very tiny percentage of people have loving feelings towards all this glass and steel we see everywhere. Modernism has triumphed, just look at the city-side design of kiosks and bus stops that look like the original MoMA, but people don't really like it

Apr. 29 2014 01:45 PM
Mia from Manhattan

The Newseum is a wonderful place to visit when in DC. It is beautifully laid out, artfully lit and the 9/11 exhibit is heart-stopping. (Including the video, with some WNYC reporters' work.) And don't miss the metal Kleenex box that's part of the set when you exit the screening room. On a very practical note, the space is also thoughtfully designed to include enough restrooms on each level.

I know everyone rushes to all the Smithsonian buildings (with reason), but people should include a visit to the Newseum as well.

Apr. 29 2014 01:08 PM
antonio from bayside

Seems like what's hot is to integrate 'planning' in architectural projects. For example there might be a street-car system running through the 'domino-sugar factory buildings...Conceptually, I know this is variable all architects think of, but today it really feels like ideas are being weaved into the fabric of the community, e.g. the high line.

Apr. 29 2014 12:57 PM
art525 from Park Slope

James Polshek was responsible for the new entrance to The Brooklyn Museum. That addition lacks any sensitivity for the beautiful original building. It feels like an airline terminal. It is an empty vacuous space which does not at all greet you and give you any excitement about the great art yo are going to encounter. I feel like people should be running around with their wheeled suticases as announcements blare over the loudspeakers. And from the outside, esthetically it's like painting flames on a classic Rolls Royce. I ssume that in thirty years there will be amovement to put a new front on the building. The photo accompanying this page for the Teijin Institute has all the appeal of a housing project.

Apr. 29 2014 11:51 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.