"We are really excited about today. This is a pivotal moment for this 42-year-old institution," said a smiling Jill Snyder, director of MOCA Cleveland, which has been housed for the last 20 years on the second floor of the Cleveland Play House complex.
"I think that all great cities need great contemporary art museums, and that MOCA has been a hidden gem in the location where we are," Snyder explained.
"By having our own building, I think that this will really come out to the community that we've become a beacon, a symbol, certainly through the architecture, of innovation and creativity, even risk."
The four-story, $26 million building is designed in a hexagonal shape and will be located at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road, in an area known as "The Triangle."
"It's our job as architects to give buildings different sensations, to make people think differently when they inhabit their space," says architect Farshid Moussavi, principal of Foreign Office Architects of London.
It is her company's first U.S. design project.
"It should nurture a sensation of change. It should not meet the idea that things are permanent and frozen, and archival."
The building is expected to be an important element in the continued re-development of part of the University Circle area known as Uptown.
"This will be a new urban district at University Circle and we are going to be the lynchpin for Uptown," Snyder predicted. "Certainly we have this great location on the corner."
"Museums are economic attractors," she continued. "We expect to have over 60 thousand visitors and we are going to be the only public institution as part of that district."
More than $20 million of the cost of the project has been raised, mostly through the generous donations of patrons and MOCA board members.
A goal of more than $32 million has been established to cover construction and an endowment.