Posts tagged with "Museums":

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Selldorf Architects tapped for Frick Collection expansion

New York–based art-world veterans Selldorf Architects will helm The Frick Collection’s enhancement of its existing Upper East Side Manhattan home, the Henry Clay Frick House. Selldorf was selected from 20 candidates after an 18-month review period.

The Frick’s road to expansion has been rocky. In June 2015, in the face of strong criticism from architects and preservationists, the museum abandoned plans to replace a gated garden with an historicist six-story tower by Davis Brody Bond. That added to a string of failed expansions (in 2001, 2005, and 2008) but the museum vowed to increase its exhibition space.

According to the Frick representatives, this latest round will work within the building’s existing footprint. The upgrades include converting a set of second-floor rooms to galleries, creating a new special gallery on the main floor, improving circulation and accessibility for those with physical disabilities, and installing new facilities dedicated to educational programming and conservation.

For now, the expansion is in its earliest stages. The configuration of the second-floor galleries and the placement of the new facilities haven’t been decided but more details will be revealed during winter 2017–2018.

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Studio Gang to design Arkansas Art Center expansion

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) has announced Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects as the design architect for its next building project. Studio Gang was selected from a field of five finalists that included Allied Works, Shigeru Ban, Thomas Phifer, and Snohetta. “Designing a re-envisioned Arkansas Arts Center is a truly exciting commission,” Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang said in a press release. “Its extraordinary collection, historic MacArthur Park setting, and rich mix of programs present a unique opportunity to redefine how the arts can strengthen local communities and surrounding regions. We look forward to working closely with the AAC to discover how architecture can enhance the Center’s important civic and cultural mission by creating new connections between people and the arts in Little Rock and beyond.” More than just a renovation and expansion of the museum's current building, the project is expected to completely change the way the museum is used and interacts with the surrounding downtown. “This project is about more than just addressing the physical issues of the current building. It requires rethinking how the AAC fits into the downtown fabric,” said Todd Herman, executive director for the AAC. “How can we best serve the community, and how do the AAC and MacArthur Park connect to other social and cultural nodes in downtown Little Rock? We want to do more than build; we want to transform the cultural experience.” The AAC was founded in 1960 and has a permanent collection with a heavy emphasis on drawing, watercolors, and other works on paper. This includes works from Rembrandt, Picasso, and Degas. The museum also possesses the largest U.S. collection of drawings and watercolors of early 20th century French Neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac. The next step in the $65-million project will be to select a local architect to collaborate on the project. According to the museum’s website, an RFQ will be issued this month for that position.
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An iconic Miami villa-turned-museum prepares for a major expansion to reclaim its former glory

Miami’s Villa Vizcaya, an Italian villa on Biscayne Bay built by industrialist and farm machinery magnate James Deering in 1914, has told the story of its creation since opening to the public in 1953. Although not fully completed until 1922, the museum-house recently celebrated its centennial.

A new master plan in the works for Vizcaya encompasses a substantial expansion and the reincorporation of various lost or forgotten elements of the estate, including a model farm, adjoining Italian farm village, and portions of the gardens that have been neglected and closed to the public for decades. For the first time since the heirs of Deering donated it to the public, Vizcaya will be able to tell substantial parts of its story almost lost to history.

In the estate’s formal gardens, a “marine garden,” unseen by the public since being damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, has reopened, and a destroyed water garden, as well as a wide set of stairs that once led to a private beach, have been recently rediscovered. An exhibition of contemporary art on view at Vizcaya through October 2017 is also drawing attention to many more of these spaces, including the estate’s moat (now a dry chasm through a forested section of the grounds), and parts of the original gardens.

But perhaps the largest “missing” element of that story is the farm, which Vizcaya is reclaiming as its current occupant—the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science—moves downtown, and the Italian farm village. Vizcaya’s administrators are hoping to use the village, which still exists quite close to its original form, for a mixture of public programming, collections storage (including open storage), and offices. The master plan then proposes the demolition of the former science museum to restore the farm site as open green space.

The original farm will be partially reconstructed and a reforested area will act as a buffer zone between the estate and the neighboring homes. “One of the most important things is the arrival of visitors and how they move through the village,” said Remko Jansonius, Vizcaya’s deputy director of collections and curatorial affairs.

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World's first (and only) LGBTQ art museum to expand its Soho space

A venerable downtown art institution has recently announced plans to expand its diminutive Soho space into a larger gallery. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art's expansion will nearly double the size of the 30-year-old museum to make room for its expanding permanent collection and provide more space for public programming. A Soho resident since its founding, the Leslie-Lohman Museum is the world's first (and only) institution dedicated to LGBTQ art. New York–based Steven Keith Architect will add 2,300 square feet to the existing 3,300-square-foot museum. "This expansion marks an extraordinary turning point and phase of substantive growth for the Museum, which has had a strong presence in SoHo for nearly 30 years," said Interim Museum Executive Director Meryl A. Allison, in a statement. "Not only are we adding an entirely new gallery to the museum, but we are also actively enhancing our permanent collection through our recently announced Hunter O'Hanian Diversity Art Fund. This fund, which has raised over $40,000 since its inception this summer, supports our mission of representing all of our constituents through collecting non-cisgender white male artists." The expanded museum, which is always free to visit, will open to the public early next year with an exhibition of 140 pieces, including collection highlights and recently acquired work by artists like Mickalene Thomas, George Bellows, Bernice Abbott, Go Mishima, and Richard Hamilton. The institution is not the only downtown museum aiming to live larger: In the past year alone, two Lower East Side institutions—the New Museum and the Tenement Museum—have announced major expansions.
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New Lisbon museum's dramatic cantilevered roof offers visitors sweeping views

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), designed by London firm AL_A, was opened this month in Lisbon, Portugal by the Fundação Energias de Portugal (EDP) to coincide with the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. The building is located within the Portuguese capital's Belém area and next to the Tagus River. Spearheaded by Stirling Prize-winning architect Amanda Levete, AL_A's design sees 15,000 three-dimensional, crackle-glazed, white ceramic tiles span an undulating roofscape, forming a reflective, rippling facade on the riverbank. While the rooftop terrace references the adjacent river through its flowing form, visitors can enjoy views of the 2,000-year-old São Jorge Castle courtesy from atop the cantilevered structure. Such expansive views, however, would be a rarity in (or on) a building that adds 75,350 square feet of public space yet barely rises the equivalent of three stories. However, the museum's four galleries can be found below ground, thus allowing the building not to tower above the low-rise Lisbon skyline. “In understanding EDP’s ambition for Lisbon, our design draws on the context of the site, creating both physical and conceptual connections to the waterfront and back to the heart of the city," said Levete. "The waterfront is so essential to the project that the design literally reflects it. The overhanging roof that creates welcome shade is used to bounce sunlight off the water and into the Main Gallery, one of the four interconnected exhibition spaces." Despite the museum's opening, the project not yet wholly complete. A pedestrian bridge coupling the museum (via its roof) to another gallery and restaurant nearby has yet to be finished. In addition to this, further public space will be added with a park area designed by Lebanese studio Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture. This is all part of the project’s second phase, scheduled to start in March next year. Three of the aforementioned sunken gallery spaces will also be finished in 2017. Here, visitors will find work from Rotterdam-based architecture firm OMA and artists Aldo Rossi and Yona Friedman. Meanwhile, French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s Pynchon Park installation is now on display in the Oval Gallery as part of the Utopia/Dystopia exhibition that will run through into the new year. Pynchon Park occupies all 10,760 square feet of the gallery and invites audiences to engage and become part of the work in a "fun and intriguing way."
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New renders reveal Selldorf Architects-designed Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego expansion

The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego (MCASD) celebrated its 75th Anniversary by officially announcing the launch of a $55 million expansion and renovation, led by New York-based Selldorf Architects. The expansion plans have been in the works for several years, with The Architect’s Newspaper reporting back in February that Selldorf was rumored to be selected for the project.   Now, having raised $56.7 million of their $75 million capital campaign, the museum has announced that its plans are moving forward. According to the San Diego Tribune, the new additions will double the size of the building from 52,000 square feet to 104,000 square feet, and quadruple its gallery space from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet. The new design also includes a new public park open on all days and hours except for private museum events, a new gift shop focused on the museum's collections, and the conversion of the 500-seat Sherwood Auditorium into a 20-foot-high gallery. MCASD will close in January 2017 and is scheduled to reopen in late 2019 after construction is complete but the museum cafe will remain open. Outgoing director Hugh Davies told the La Jolla Light that the museum has always had strict space constraints on its collection of works. “Expansion of our La Jolla facility will allow us to consistently display our collection, as well as present compelling contemporary exhibits and expand our education programs,” he said at the 75th Anniversary celebration. This announcement comes after Selldorf Architects were selected to revamp the Frick Collection and design the Swiss Institute's new space.
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Herzog & de Meuron win commission to design Berlin's Museum of the 20th Century

Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron, working with German landscape architects Vogt, has seen off competition from 41 other practices to design the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin. New York studios SO-IL, Snøhetta, and REX were in the running for the $218.8 million project, along with British firms Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects. Danish firm Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter was announced as runner-up, while German practice Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten was awarded third prize. Back in November 2014, Germany’s parliament put aside 200 million euros for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and a new, much-needed building to show 20th-century art at the Cultural Forum (a collection of cultural institutions located at the edge of West Berlin). In September 2015, a competition was launched for a design strategy that would include the site layout, architecture, and landscaping of the museum. The Swiss firm's winning proposal depicts the museum extensively clad in brick, with a pitched roof spanning its entire length. Inside, the space will be divided into four parts with a sycamore tree being placed in the northeast quarter amid a restaurant area. With this space set among the galleries and art storage, the museum will become a place for art, meeting, and archival storage. Circulatory devices inside aim for crossovers between groups of visitors that wouldn't usually meet. Herzog and de Meuron explained: "The museum is the place where different paths cross, where different mentalities and worlds allow an encounter. It has several entrances, as it is oriented in all directions. It draws attention to the local collection of art." “Internationally significant art collections” will be on display, including the National Gallery’s Marx and Pietzsch collections, parts of the Marzona collection, and works from the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings). The museum will also connect to the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie through an underground tunnel. Speaking in a press release, Culture Minister Monika Grütters spoke of the jury process: “The great interest [in] the project shows that it is an attractive challenge for any renowned agency to build in this neighborhood."
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Selldorf Architects chosen to upgrade and expand The Frick Collection

New York-based Selldorf Architects, no stranger to designing for the art world, will be helming The Frick Collection's enhancement of its existing home, the Henry Clay Frick House in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The Frick's efforts to expand have previously not gone smoothly. The museum faced outcry when it planned to remove a garden and add six stories to its east wing. (The Frick House was originally designed by Thomas Hastings of Carrère and Hastings and built from 1912 to 1914.) Those plans were abandoned but the Frick, saying it still faced a shortage of exhibition space, vowed to find other ways to expand. In a press release, the museum said, "Working in partnership with Frick leadership and staff, Selldorf Architects will develop a design plan that addresses the institution’s pressing needs to accommodate the growth of its collections and programs, upgrade its conservation and research facilities, create new galleries, and—for the first time—allow for dedicated spaces and classrooms for the Frick’s educational programs." These upgraded facilities, the release added, will be within the building's "built footprint" and will "foster a more natural and seamless visitor flow throughout the Frick’s exhibition galleries, library, and public spaces." Selldorf was unanimously recommended by the search committee, which spent 18 months evaluating some 20 architects. Ian Wardropper, director of The Frick Collection, said this of Selldorf Architects in a press release:
The firm understands and appreciates the value of institutional mission and has clearly demonstrated in past projects—such as New York’s Neue Galerie and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown—how new designs can enrich, rather than overwhelm, already distinguished architectural spaces. Such an approach is essential to our project, which seeks to preserve the peaceful and contemplative experience that the Frick provides to its visitors.
The new enhancements will include "the opening to the public—for the first time—of a suite of rooms on the second floor of the historic house, for use as exhibition galleries," "the creation of a new gallery for the presentation of special exhibitions" on the main floor, "the creation of dedicated, purpose-built spaces to accommodate the Frick’s roster of educational and public programming," and "the establishment of state-of-the-art conservation spaces...." By way of some background, in the 1930s, when converting the house into a museum, architect John Russell Pope doubled its size and demolished its library to make way for a larger library that could accommodate the museum's collection. Additional expansions occurred in 1977 (which created the 70th Street Garden) and 2011 (which enclosed part of the Fifth Avenue Garden). This won't be the only art-related New York project that Selldorf Architects will have on their plate: the firm is also helming the new St. Mark’s Place location for the Swiss Institute. More details can be found here on the Frick Collection's website and a full press release can be found here.
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Your inner child (and adult designer) will love the new London Science Museum kids science gallery

Whether you're under ten or not, you're lying if you say that having a slide race to test friction doesn't sound fun—not that the word "fun" should detract from the seriousness of the task, which after all, is in the name of science. Like the idea? Well, that's what is now on offer at Wonderlab in the Satoil Gallery at the Science Museum in London, designed by London-based muf architecture/art. Three slides, each offering various friction coefficients, are one of 50 hands-on exhibits at the new gallery. As critic Rowan Moore points out, institutions in the U.K. have often gone too far with flamboyant displays when it comes to science. Exhibits have become overcrowded with gimmicks that obtrusively vie for visitors' attention, usually "displaying digital technology that had a knack of a) becoming obsolete and b) stopping working." At the Wonderlab, though, this isn't the case. Covering 25,000 square feet, the $7.3 million space informs fresh-faced youths on scientific concepts such as light, materials, sound, forces, mathematics, electricity, and magnetism. Each concept is represented by a single hanging object—a brass instrument for sound, a blown glass orb for materialVisitors are encouraged to find their own way around the gallery. A 120-seater theater, designed to emulate that of the scientist Michael Faraday, can be used for classes, meanwhile, 400 handmade oval samples showcasing different materials can be found by the slides. A cage for a Tesla coil also features a 26-feet inhabitable revolving orrery—reminiscent of George Wright of Derby’s painting—that teaches children about the solar system by displaying the sun, earth, and moon. On a smaller scale, the space features bespoke kid-proof furniture: A treasure trail of 25 crystals can be found in the benches and a 16-feet oak tree has been studded with magnets. "These details are a conscious reaction against the generic bright, wipe clean, panelled architecture of many schools and public spaces," said the firm. The gallery is also very spacious. muf described their work as "stripped back" in an email to The Architect's Newspaper. On school trips, the sight of kids tearing across the floor and falling through exhibits just so they can give their friend an electric shock is not uncommon. muf's decision then to remove layers of suspended ceiling and partitions to open up the space is perhaps wise, as it attempts to diffuse the drama and chaos that can erupt in such a space. By doing so, the firm also allows areas for waiting and eating packed lunches—timezones that are notorious for attention spans to waver—to be generously day lit. Teachers will also be thankful for the added openness that gives their watchful eyes wider scope for sniffing out mischief. 200,000 children are set to descend onto Wonderlab each year and muf's design looks set to be a fun, enriching, but stress-free experience for all those who visit.
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A new book explores the formative ideas that shaped major American art museums

Kathleen Curran uses the erudite German term Kulturgeschichte for the kind of art museum display known more commonly as composite or contextual installation. Her research has unearthed the minutiae of U.S. museum history, adding to the extensive, existing publications about its European precedents.

The author starts with the well-known roots of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (called the South Kensington Museum when it moved to its first permanent building in 1857) in industry and the mechanical arts. Installation of the collections was based on materials and technique, and Curran fails to tell the reader that the change to a cultural, rather than a craft, display began to take place in the mid-1930s. 

In contrast with the V&A, museums in Munich, Berlin, and Zurich had adopted chronological arrangements of objects in period settings—also favored by directors and board members in the United States. Likewise, the Americans looked to national museums like the Musée de Cluny in Paris. Their interest in emphasizing the era of each gallery was guided by the Cluny’s unusual chronological arrangements, exhibits of sculpture and architectural elements in the period style of the rooms where they were exhibited, and illumination that heightened the historical emphasis.

Considering that early museum installations were not photographed, the author has done a good job in supplementing existing black and white illustrations with plans of the buildings under discussion. Within the text, figure numbers printed in red are helpful.

Upon its completion in 1902, the Boston Museum of Fine Art took the lead in what Curran describes as setting “the standards for the first great era of public art museum construction in the U.S.” Among other fine points, it is fascinating to learn that in contrast to the whirlwind visits of comparable trips undertaken by search committees today, the museum’s president, building committee chairman, and the architects they had chosen (Sturgis Wheelwright) spent three months in Europe, visiting every major museum and gallery there. Their investigation decided the group on the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt (Alfred Messel, 1906), a Kulturgeschichte museum, as a model.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City followed suit. In describing its beginnings, Curran brings to light the outstanding men responsible for it. Wilhelm R. Valentiner, a young and talented Dutch Rembrandt scholar almost single-handedly created the Met’s new decorative arts department, where he began to work in 1907 at the request of John Pierpont Morgan. Valentiner, was in turn influenced by the formidable Wilhelm von Bode, director of the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin, whom he assisted for two years. Then and now—after a sensitive renovation completed in 2006—the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum is a touchstone of high-quality composite arrangements of decorative arts, painting, and predominantly, sculpture.

When it opened in 1910, the Met’s Wing of Decorative Arts designed by McKim, Mead and White was the first part of the museum building planned with direct reference to the objects it would contain. Based on the open court plan of the Musée des Art Decoratifs in Paris, the New York museum followed the ideals of Kulturgeschichte that were expressed throughout the Boston MFA.

Morgan’s relationship with Francis Goodwin (president of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, 1890–1919), another luminary in this constellation of brilliant museum enthusiasts, produced strong architectural similarities between the two buildings. I, for one, had never noticed that the Morgan Hall in Hartford (by Benjamin Wistar Morris) is almost an exact replica, although slightly smaller, of the Met’s Decorative Art Wing. 

A chapter devoted to midwestern art museums also contains riveting nuggets of information. One, for example, explains the origin of “period rooms” in Minneapolis (inaugurated in 1915), where Valentiner’s associate curator, Joseph Breck, was the first director. Breck was able to include paintings in his composite displays, something Valentiner had not been allowed to do at the Met. For the Minneapolis director “period rooms” contained objects selected to represent a specific period of art; they were not rooms transferred intact from historical houses.

According to Curran, Cleveland’s museum (1916), which turned out to be a condensed version of the Boston MFA, set the standard for a series of midwestern museums. The garden court in Cleveland, with walls designed to reflect the artistic periods of adjoining galleries, was particularly influential. An interesting issue raised in this chapter is the contentious relationship that developed at times between the museum architect and its staff, with critics divided as to which should take the lead.

Curran considers the galleries devoted to American art the greatest evidence of Kulturgeschichte’s impact. Beginning with the display of this country’s art at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in 1909, she describes how Kulturgeschichte installations combined with elements of European national museums influenced the American Wing. Opened in 1924, the Met wing was among many near contemporary ones that “embraced historical rooms and composite displays as the preferred method for presenting life and art in colonial America.”

Fiske Kimball, the prodigious scholar of American history, enters the narrative here in his seminal role in the creation of the Metropolitan Museum’s American Wing. He exerted an equally decisive influence on the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he became director in 1925, and mapped out an alternation of period rooms and composite display galleries in a triumph of Kulturgeschichte.

Curran’s work on the invention of the American art museum calls to mind Mary Anne Staniszewski’s illuminating history of installations at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art. Curran’s concern is historical fine and decorative art; Staniszewki’s is modern art. For all those interested in museums and their origins, these behind-the-scenes accounts are deeply engaging, not least in their revelation of how what goes around, eventually comes around.

The Invention of the American Art Museum From Craft to Kulturgeschichte, 1870–1930 Kathleen Curran, Getty Trust Research Institute, $49.95

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AN tours the saliva-worthy Museum of Ice Cream, a NYC pop-up where you can bathe in a pool of sprinkles

Today The Architect's Newspaper toured the soon-to-open Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) a pop-up space in the Meatpacking devoted to the season's favorite sweet treat. I popped two Lactaid pills and licked everything.

The space is the brainchild of design strategist Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora, CEO of Lightbox NYC, a company that creates immersive brand experiences for the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Sephora.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIZ-tgpD9tP/

"The Museum of Ice Cream is about joy, experimentation, collaboration, sharing, and playing together, with some nostalgia, too," noted Bunn, who harbored childhood fantasy of diving into a giant pool of sprinkles.

The exhibits deliver on that fantasy. Although it would be generous to call the Whitney-adjacent MOIC a museum, it is a lot of fun. One installation invited participants to practice their scoop by digging vanilla ice cream out of a commercial-sized container and deposit it on a gold chalice. Our guide noted that ice cream was invented in China circa 1000 BCE, which is probably not true.

In the next room, Toronto-based Future Food Studio was spinning balloons made from liquid sugar and filled with helium. MOIC staff encouraged visitors to inhale the helium, say something in an elf voice, and eat the sticky aftermath:

Helium balloons at the Museum of Ice Cream The group also created a cone display for ice cream paired with Synsepalum dulcificum (miracle fruit), a plant from West Africa that temporarily alters how different foods taste. Bright pink vanilla ice cream cones arrived garnished with lemon, which tastes sweet under the berry's influence. Future Future Food Studio founder Dr. Irwin Adam explained that the exhibit is "art meets ice cream meets taste meets science," adding that the chemical interaction caused by the miracle berries is an interesting avenue in the psychology of taste. Sprinkles Pool at the Museum of Ice Cream The museum’s focus on its vigorous second life online is reflected in almost pornographically playful exhibitions where a visitor can point her phone at an angled ceiling mirror to snap the perfect selfie while diving into the sprinkles pool. The reminders from staff and wall text to #MOIC #museumoficecream reinforced the performative quality of the space. The sprinkles are made of cut-up plastic beads, the kind you imagine lodged in the trachea of sea creatures, but they approximated their sugar siblings well enough. I braved the crowds (above) and possible foot fungus to dip my feet in the pool: Sprinkle pool at the Museum of Ice Cream It felt nice, a colorful response to Snarkitecture's Beach. Chocolate display at the Museum of Ice Cream Over in the chocolate room, visitors were greeted with the rich scent of cacao, Dove chocolates, and a video installation of gushing liquid chocolate set to Lord of the Rings transition music. By the exit, there was a (chocolate milk?) fountain splattering its juices against the back wall and basin. Growing up in a house with old plumbing, the fountain was very triggering: Chocolate fountain at the Museum of Ice Cream Pivoting quickly back to the entrance for a Blue Marble Ice Cream vanilla sundae topped with lemon-guava paste, marshmallows, and Froot Loops, I returned to the final exhibit, an indoor playground sponsored by Tinder. The MOIC says the playground—with a loveseat, seesaw, and bench swing—is the ideal place for a first date. To test out the space, I had lined up an actual Tinder date who cancelled last minute, so I had to content myself with watching others try out the seesaw, which is shaped like an ice cream scoop: Seesaw at the Museum of Ice Cream Last licks: When it opens tomorrow, the MOIC expects 30,000 visitors over its monthlong run. Tickets are already sold out, but hours of operation and availability will be updated here.
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Renderings revealed for the Bronx's Universal Hip-Hop Museum

New renderings by Mike Ford (a.k.a. the Hip-Hop Architect) of BrandNu Design depict the Universal Hip-Hop Museum (UHHM) that could grace the Bronx in the very near future. Although the idea for the museum has been germinating for a few years, this is the first time renderings are available for a specific site. The renderings depict a museum—complete with interactive exhibitions and a screening room—at the site of the Bronx Borough Courthouse, a disused neoclassical 1930s municipal building. The courthouse plaza features an amphitheater centered around a sculpture. As the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx is a natural choice for the UHHM, which would be the first standalone museum devoted to the genre, its history, heritage, and the culture the music nurtures. The museum was originally intended as one point in the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment plan, Ford told Curbed. The courthouse became the site at the urging of state assemblyman Michael Blake, who thought that the museum would be a great focal point for his district. With support from hip-hop pioneers like Ice T. and Kurtis Blow, Ford teamed up with Autodesk for a three-day design charette with industry leaders, locals, students, and program partners to craft a preliminary vision of the museum Right now, the UHHM is speaking with state and local officials to determine how much funding could be available for the museum. The Bronx is one of the poorest counties in the state, and the museum could be a vital source of jobs for the borough. Stakeholders are discussing the possibility of negotiating a long term lease of the courthouse for the museum.