VSB’s design, unlike that of the proposed expansion, arises from careful study and understanding of La Jolla’s urban form. Its street frontage, museum store, and cafe extend the rhythm of Prospect Street’s lively storefronts, celebrating the museum’s location in the village commercial center and drawing visitors toward the building. At the entrance, visitors then encounter an urbane courtyard that fronts the museum’s Irving Gill-designed Scripps House: it invites them to rest for a moment, enjoy Gill’s architecture, have a coffee, and then enter the museum. This well-loved urban space is now threatened by the museum’s expansion plan. The plan, drawn up by New York-based Selldorf Architects, would tear down much of VSB’s facade as well as their dramatic colonnade—interrupting the urbane rhythm of the street and destroying the courtyard. And it would move the museum’s entry to a formulaic glass lobby that thumbs its nose at Gill’s architecture. Demolishing the colonnade is billed as a way of making the house more visible—but actually, it would prevent visitors from experiencing it in the way Gill intended: from the intimate, pedestrian-scaled space in front of it. And it would destroy the sense of enclosure that VSB created for the adjacent town green formed by a group of surrounding Gill-designed buildings. The new plan is a slap in the face to Gill: to the composition of the group as a whole and in particular to the Scripps House, which without the colonnade would be left looking small and insubstantial, overshadowed by the museum’s later additions.The petition implores the museum to “come up with a plan for expansion that is sensitive and respectful to the village of La Jolla” as well as the VSBA designs and references the recent landmarking of VSBA’s Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery in London as an appropriate way of acknowledging VSBA’s work in San Diego. For now, MCA’s plans are moving full-steam ahead. The museum has been closed since last year and groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall. The project is fully-entitled and construction documents are currently in development. Worse yet to Scott Brown’s efforts, removal of existing sections has already begun. One of the VSBA-designed pergolas was removed a few weeks ago and was transferred to a new privately-held parklet being planned by the La Jolla Historical Society. Explaining the rationale behind moving the pergola structure, Heath Fox, executive director of the La Jolla Historical Society told AN, “I happen to be a person who appreciates postmodern architecture and envisioned an opportunity to save the VSBA pergolas as a piece of new garden.” Fox added, “The park will add an important piece of history to the neighborhood and will keep the pergola in the Scripps community.”
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.