Everson Museum Selects MILLIØNS to Design Museum Café

Led by Zeina Koreitem and John May, Los Angeles-based architecture firm MILLIØNS has been named as the winner of the Museum’s Café Design Competition

MILLIØNS’s design for the renovation of the Everson Museum of Art’s atrium. (Courtesy MILLIØNS)

SYRACUSE, NY (October 29, 2019) The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York and Syracuse University School of Architecture are pleased to announce MILLIØNS as the winner of the Everson Museum Café Design Competition. Everson Museum Director and CEO Elizabeth Dunbar, Everson Museum Curator of Ceramics Garth Johnson, Sean Anderson (MoMA), Aric Chen (Design Miami), Jing Liu (SO—IL), Matt Shaw (The Architect’s Newspaper), and Oana Stănescu (Harvard GSD) comprised the jury that selected the firm.

In addition to providing daily lunch service and hosting special events, the new Everson Museum café will also serve as a venue to showcase the The Rosenfield Collection, a 3,000+ piece functional ceramic art collection gifted to the Everson Museum of Art by Dallas-based ceramic artist and collector Louise Rosenfield. Rosenfield, along with Kate Nutting, Principal and Managing Member of VIP Architectural Associates; Fouad Dietz, Everson Museum Chair of Buildings and Grounds Committee; and Karyn Korteling, owner of Pastabilities restaurant in Syracuse, NY, served as advisors to the jury.

Competition juror Oana Stănescu observes that, “MILLIØNS, through the incredible breadth of research and experimental design approach, pointed to unexpected ways in which this intervention can reverberate throughout the existing building. MILLIØNS’ strategy is looking to give coherence to the museum experience by subtly inserting a contemporary design in the iconic building representative of very different times and attitudes towards art and life. This is an exciting new chapter for the Everson, a respectful nod to its past and a reassuring step towards the future.”


MILLIØNS’s rendering of the renovated cafe at the Everson Museum of Art (Courtesy MILLIØNS)


“MILLIØNS brings a striking individuality to their work,” says Dunbar. “Their approach to the café design within I.M. Pei’s iconic Everson design brings to mind Pei’s own daring intervention into the Louvre. MILLIØNS included prismatic glass towers in their design, brilliantly combining function with architectural flair and conceptual rigor. They not only thoughtfully engage Pei’s style; they have highlighted its unique characteristics while simultaneously giving Louise’s collection the prominence and respect it deserves. We are all so very excited to work on this project with MILLIONS. Together we are creating a café space and experience unlike any other in the world.” Construction of the new café will begin in 2020 with an expected opening in late summer of the same year.

The international competition, organized by Syracuse University School of Architecture Dean Michael Speaks and Assistant Professor Kyle Miller began in March with invitations to offices from Canada, China, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United States to submit conceptual images and statements of interest. In May, MILLIØNS (Zeina Koreitem and John May, Los Angeles), FreelandBuck (David Freeland and Brennan Buck, Los Angeles/ New York, NATURALBUILD (Yanfei Shui and Yichi Su, Shanghai), and Norman Kelley (Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman, Chicago/New Orleans) were selected as finalists.

This project is part of a strategic initiative to restore and enhance the Everson’s building with the aim of positioning the historic structure as a source of civic pride, while simultaneously creating a dynamic and innovative museum for a 21st-century audience. Recently completed facility improvements include the Danial Family Education Center, a state-of-the-art auditorium renovation, and the Paul Phillips and Sharon Sullivan Ceramics Center. These projects were made possible by generous contributions through The Everson. First and Forever. comprehensive campaign.




MILLIØNS is a Los Angeles-based architectural practice founded by John May and Zeina Koreitem. MILLIØNS conceives of architecture as a speculative medium for exploring the central categories of contemporary life: technology, politics, energy, media, and information. Their approach insists on an expansive parallel project of technical, historical and cultural analysis, which surrounds and informs their work. MILLIØNS’ work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including a commissioned furniture set by Friedman Benda Gallery NYC and Chamber, shows at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, The Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles, Jai & Jai Gallery in Los Angeles, the Museum of The City of New York, the MIT Keller Architecture Gallery, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, among others. Their essays and interviews are widely published, including a recent catalog of work on experimental collective living, entitled New Massings for New Masses (MIT SA+P Press 2015). Recent work includes a retail store on Madison Avenue in New York, residential and cultural projects in California, New York and Beirut, and a pop-up exhibition commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum of Geography.

Zeina Koreitem is a registered architect in Beirut, Lebanon, a Design Critic in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Design Faculty at SCI-Arc. Previously, she worked in the offices of Dominique Perrault Architecture in Paris, and RCR Arquitectes in Olot, Spain, and taught design studios at USC School of Architecture and the University of Toronto. She holds a B.Arch from the American University of Beirut, where she received the AREEN Project Award of Excellence in Architecture, and the Outstanding Creative Achievement Award; an M.ArchII from the University of Toronto; and an MDes in Design Computation from Harvard GSD, where she received the Daniel L. Schodek Award for Technology.

John May is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of the master’s in design studies Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He previously served as a visiting professor at MIT, SCI-Arc, and UCLA, and was named 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Professor in Architecture at Rice University. He is founding co-director (with Zeynep Çelik Alexander) of The Instruments Project—an ongoing exploration of the philosophical and historical dimensions of contemporary design technologies.