Field Trip :: ICA


Southwest view of the ICA
By: Curtis Robinson, BArch Candidate

Once upon a time, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) lived in 951 Boylston, the building you have probably had studio in. In 2006, the ICA moved into its current location in the Seaport district into a building designed by, Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The museum was the first design the New York City based firm had built in the United States. 

When approaching the building from the Silver Line on Seaport Boulevard it appears the building is just one square block of a building. Once you get a bit closer to the museum, you realize that the Southern facade is the only portion of the building that is bland.  

Northern facade- seating under the cantilever
The design of the building includes an 80 foot cantilever that juts out from the Southern portion of the building over the water. Under this cantilever is the boardwalk with amphitheater style seating, allowing for performances, or just a pleasant place to enjoy the view of Boston in the distance. 

The museum's galleries are column free and feature movable walls, 15-foot ceilings, and the coolest part- an expansive adjustable skylight system allowing natural light to be filtered evenly throughout the galleries. If you've been to the museum before and didn't look up while in the galleries, make sure you go back and check it out. For more information on the design, visit the ICA website.

Top of the cantilever overlooking the water and the city

While on your journey in the museum, you'll enter a space that connects the galleries- the tip of the cantilever, which is just a wall of glass.  Here you are able to go right up to the wall and look down over the waters edge. There are benches planking the opposite wall allowing you to enjoy the view.  

There is a reading area and a computer lab room (called the Mediatheque) which is the portion of the building that extends outward off the cantilever directing the eye to the water below. Here you will find the history of the ICA, and will be able to watch videos on the design, and construction of the building.  

 Mediatheque windows frame the water underneath

Go visit! Every Thursday from 5-9pm, the ICA offers FREE admission. Any other time admission is $10 with your BAC student ID. 

The ICA is located at 100 Northern Avenue, in the Seaport District.  It's easily accessible from the Courthouse T stop on the Silver line, or enjoy a nice walk across the bridge from Atlantic Avenue.