Today the Frick Collection released a new set of renovation designs by Selldorf Architects that will increase the museum’s square footage by ten percent.
The Upper East Side institution faced stiff opposition for the redesign scheme it unveiled in 2015, with critics condemning a six-story building by Davis Brody Bond that would have supplanted the museum’s garden on East 70th Street. The new plans preserve the garden, while adding 27,000 square feet of space within the Frick’s home, a 1914 Gilded Age mansion designed by Carrère and Hastings.
Instead of looming over the greenery, some of that new space will be underground. The institution is building a 220-seat auditorium under the garden, which was designed by Russell Page, one of the last century’s most renowned landscape architects. In concert with the additions, New York garden designer Lynden B. Miller is redoing the greensward to honor Page’s original design intent.
Above the ground plane, the tallest addition will sprout in two stories from the building’s music room, while the lobby won’t rise more than five feet above where it sits now. Another building behind the seven-story library will top out at the library’s height. Collectively, these additions should preserve more expansive sightlines into the garden, and add much-needed room for the Frick’s growing collection.
“The Frick has always been one of my favorite museums because you get up close to the art and you can respond to the domestic spaces in your own way,” firm principal Annabelle Selldorf told the New York Times. “You’ll be able to come to the museum and do the exact same thing you do today, except that you’ll be able to go up the stairs and see these rooms.”
The museum selected Selldorf Architects to lead the project in December 2016 after a string of failed expansion attempts.
Selldorf is using contextual materials like Indiana limestone to integrate the 27,000 square feet of new programming, exhibition, and reception space into the Frick’s existing 60,000 square feet. Her New York firm is removing a circular stair in the reception area, and moving the gift shop up a floor to open up the reception area and improve circulation between the first, second, and lower levels. New York’s Beyer Blinder Belle is the executive architect on the project.