Growing up

Architecture Research Office to oversee Dia renovations and expansion

Architecture East
Architecture Research Office to oversee Dia renovations and expansion. A view of Dia's Chelsea location. Photo: Don Stahl. (Courtesy Dia Art Foundation.)
Architecture Research Office to oversee Dia renovations and expansion. A view of Dia's Chelsea location. Photo: Don Stahl. (Courtesy Dia Art Foundation.)

Dia Art Foundation is undergoing major changes at all its locations, overseen by New York-based architects Architecture Research Office (ARO), with partners Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao taking the lead. The plan is to upgrade and expand the flagship New York City and Beacon locations, reactivate a programming space in Soho, and revitalize two New York exhibitions of Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), which have been in Dia’s care since the 1970s.

Dia, which has been around since 1974, has exhibited primarily in former industrial sites, such as a converted Nabisco factory in Beacon, NY. As director Jessica Morgan told The New York Times, “The idea of new architecture is so antithetical to Dia.” ARO was chosen for its notable sensitivity to existing spaces and its experience in renovating art spaces, such as the Judd Foundation and the Rothko Chapel.

In Beacon, ARO will redesign the former factory’s lower level to open up 11,000 square feet of exhibition space. Dia’s Chelsea location will also see an expansion. Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer Beyond will be getting climate control to keep them open through the summer. Beyond renovations and improvements of existing sites, the project also includes the reclamation of a 2500-square-foot gallery in Soho that had previously served as a retail space.

Renovating existing spaces rather than engaging in new construction also aligns with Dia’s financial mission. These renovations are made possible in part by a $78 million campaign, which Dia is hoping to mostly direct to their endowment and to operating finances, rather than to construction. As Jessica Morgan, the Nathalie de Gunzburg Director of Dia, puts it, “Our work with ARO builds on Dia’s history of repurposing and activating found architectural spaces and will help us reinvigorate our mission and program across the range of sites that make up Dia today.”

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