Posts tagged with "Museums":

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Guggenheim unveils new renderings & details for finalists in its Helsinki competition

Near the end of last year, the Guggenheim Foundation announced the six finalists in its global competition to design its new campus in Helsinki. That open call for ideas attracted more than 1,700 submissions that, when compiled together, created a dizzying array of architectural eye-candy. The basic idea behind the foundation’s unprecedented competition was to find an iconic, tourist-attracting design like Frank Gehry’s metallic creation in Bilbao. While the short-listed proposals are still only known by a number, the six firms vying for the career-changing commission have been made public; they are AGPS Architecture (Zurich, Los Angeles), Asif Khan (London), Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, Barcelona, Sydney), Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart), Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris), and SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Western Australia). In the months since that announcement, these teams have been finalizing their schemes - and now the Guggenheim has unveiled new details and renderings for each one. The competition jury has also announced its 15 honorable mentions, along with the firms behind them. Members of the public will be able to interact with all of the designs at a Guggenheim-sponsored exhibit that opens this Saturday in Helsinki. Following the exhibit, the jury will select a winner, to be announced on June 23 – one year after the competition was launched. If you can’t make it to Helsinki for the exhibit, we’ve got the finalists, and the honorable mentions, right here.

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From the architects: "The design of the Guggenheim Helsinki and its woven landscape are based upon a sensitive and sympathetic approach to the context and nature of Helsinki. The fragmental design encourages people to flow within a new cultural core that is linked to the rest of the city, through the port promenade and the pedestrian footbridge to Tahtitorninvuori Park. This flexible access welcomes not only the visitors but also serves as a key cultural destination for the community."  
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From the architects: "The project proposes two facilities that establish a dialog with each other – a museum made of two museums. The first museum is on the ground or tarmac level of the port facility. The existing terminal is re-used and re-appropriated for multiple activities. It is conceived as a public space, extending the pedestrian boardwalk into the building – a place for education and outreach within the city. The second museum is the museum as such, in so far as it houses exhibitions. The structure is in the air and hovers above the first. As a hall on stilts, partly removed from the everyday life below, the building offers a place of refuge, adhering to the notion of the museum as an 'other space.'"  
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From the architects: "31 Rooms reuses the laminated wood structure of the existing Makasiini terminal to rebuild a wooden volume that follows the exact geometry of the original building. The rest of the massing respects the maximum height of the old terminal and reproduce its profile ensuring that the current views from the park and the adjacent buildings are preserved."
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From the architects: "We propose a Strategy that could offer back to the City of Helsinki an Extra Space at no additional cost. An added value for the City that transcends traditional Exhibition Spaces. We propose an Interior Street, an additional un-programmed space, which is not included in the original brief, that open the building up to citizen’s appropriation, and allow it to remain structurally relevant through the present and well into the future. The Interior Street, an Extra City Space, proposes a set of Unique Spaces that contains an almost unlimited number of conditions and situations that Public Space could offer to present, to study, (re) contextualize, or even provoke the people that enters it, whatever form it takes."

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From the architects: "Adorning the waters edge. A cluster of slender timber towers provides a stunning addition to the city skyline. The sculptural form lends the Guggenheim a „Beacon-like“ appearance, attracting visitors arriving by land or sea. A majestic public place in the city. The towers are gathered around a soaring catheral-like central space, providing a unique home for public events on the waterfront."
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From the architects: "Our proposal takes the form of a Helsinki city block rotated to the harbour front. Helsinki city blocks in the 1800s were named after wild animals. The proposed new block will have the tactile familiarity of a pet’s fur. Six timber-clad galleries are stacked over two levels and flanked by a seventh for administration and retail. Public spaces are formed between these and an intelligent textured glass skin wrapping the entirety to precisely diffuse light, translucent below, and transparent above."
  The Honorable Mentions               
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More in Milan: Rem Koolhaas’ arts complex for Prada brings together old and new—with gold

Should you be looking for yet another reason to add Milan to your architectural travel itinerary, the Prada Foundation is scheduled to open its many doors to the public on May 9. Designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA, the campus—part new construction, part rehabbed structures—will include 120,000 square feet of exhibition space, a theater, a children's area, a restaurant, and library. "It is surprising that despite the enormous expansion of art media, the number of typologies for the display of art remains limited," commented Koolhaas on his website. "It seems that art's apotheosis is unfolding in an increasingly limited repertoire of spatial conditions: The gallery (white, abstract, and neutral), the industrial space (attractive because of its predictable conditions which are meant to remain neutral when juxtaposed with any artwork), the contemporary art museum (a barely disguised version of the department store), and the purgatory of the art fair." The Prada Foundation is located in a former distillery at Largo Isarco, an industrial complex dating from 1910 that comprises seven existing buildings, including a warehouse, laboratories, and brewing silos surrounded by a large courtyard. OMA inserted three new structures into the site: a museum for temporary exhibitions, a transformable cinema building, and a ten-story gallery tower. Opening exhibits will draw on the holdings of the Prada Collection (which is heavy on 20th century and contemporary art) and works on loan from museums around the world. Projects commissioned for the occasion are also on the program; Robert Gober and Thomas Demand have created site-specific installations that engage the old and new architectures, and Roman Polanski has produced a documentary film that explores his cinematographic inspirations. [via NY Times.]
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Biomimicry guides the design of Shanghai’s new nautilus-shaped museum of natural history

This weekend a Shanghai museum got a new home, and its design takes a major cue from nature. The Shanghai Natural History Museum wraps 479,180 square feet of exhibition space with facades inspired by the elements, natural phenomena, and the biological structure of cells. Perkins + Will designed the structure, which expresses architectural themes found in nature. A green roof rises from the site plan, spiraling logarithmically like the shell of a nautilus. A 100-foot-tall atrium rises within that organizing geometry, transmitting natural light through a craggy lattice that mimics the shape and organization of living cells. Nature inspired the design of the building's other facades, too. Its eastern face is a living wall, complementing a north-facing facade of stone that the architects said suggests shifting tectonic plates and canyon walls eroded by rivers. The interaction of natural elements is also meant to invoke traditional Chinese landscape architecture. “The use of cultural references found in traditional Chinese gardens was key to the design,” Ralph Johnson, principal at Perkins + Will, said in a press release. “Through its integration with the site, the building represents the harmony of human and nature and is an abstraction of the basic elements of Chinese art and design.”

Though it sits within Shanghai's Jing An Sculpture Park, the building is designed to be more than inhabited art. It recycles rainwater through its green roof and minimizes solar gain using an intelligent building skin, while its oval courtyard pond helps cool the building. Geothermal energy regulates the building's temperature.

The museum's collection comprises some 290,000 samples, including a complete, 140-million-year-old skeleton of the dinosaur Mamenchisaurus, and species which cannot be found outside China, such as Yellow River mammoth, giant salamander, giant panda, and Yangtze Alligator. Situated in Shanghai's Cotton Exchange Building since 1956, the natural history museum leaves its historic home for a building with 20 times the exhibition space and a design that looks forward, as well as back through the eons.
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Olson Kundig Merges Western History and Modern Art

Richlite-clad museum expansion inspired by industrial context and Old West art collection.

Commissioned to craft an extension to the Antoine Predock–designed Tacoma Art Museum, Olson Kundig Architects sought inspiration in both the history of the site and the art collection itself. Located in the city's Union Depot/Warehouse historic district, the museum is surrounded by brick buildings formerly dedicated to industry and transportation. "The new addition needed to respond to both the neighborhood context as well as the existing building," explained design principal Tom Kundig. "It has clean lines that recall the existing structure but recalls more directly the natural, earthy materials found in the neighborhood." In contrast to the stainless steel-clad original wing, which houses the museum's modern art collection, the new wing—dedicated to the art of the American West—is wrapped in layers of Richlite sunscreens. "The addition's use of exterior shutters references symbols of the American West—fences, filtered barn light, and railroad box cars," said Kundig. "It's fitting that the Haub Family's Western American Art collection now sits at the westernmost terminus of the rail line established by President Lincoln."
  • Facade Manufacturer Richlite (cladding and sunscreens), Kawneer (glazing)
  • Architects Olson Kundig Architects
  • Facade Installer Raymond-Northwest (Richlite), Eastside Glass (glazing), McKinstry (aluminum and stainless steel)
  • Location Tacoma, WA
  • Date of Completion November 24
  • System aluminum and reused stainless steel canopy, Richlite panels, Richlite fixed and operable sunscreens over curtain wall
  • Products Richlite Rainshadow, Kawneer 1600 Curtain Wall, Kawneer 350 HW Doors
A new 30-foot-high canopy serves as the junction of the museum's old and new wings, and creates an exterior gathering space for museumgoers. "The intersection between the existing building's modern collection and the new structure's western art collection became the focal point of a new museum experience," explained Kundig. Built from a combination of aluminum grating and stainless steel panels reused from demolished portions of the original structure, the canopy's material palette mediates the gap between the architectural languages of the two spaces. It also suggests a seamless integration into the Predock-designed building, despite the fact that it is structurally isolated for seismic safety. For the exterior of the new galleries, Olson Kundig chose Richlite, an earth-toned composite product made from waste paper and resin, both because it is locally manufactured, and as a reference to Tacoma's lumber industry. The architects used Richlite in two forms: as panels for straightforward cladding; and as dimensional lumber to build overlapping sets of shutters. Comprising both fixed and operable screens, the shading system controls the amount of sunlight that enters the galleries and allows museum staff to adjust visibility into and out of the building. The moveable screen panels, each 16 feet 4 inches wide by 16 feet 6 inches tall, are controlled by a hand crank located in the lobby. The Tacoma Art Museum expansion project held special meaning for Kundig, whose firm is located in Seattle. "Tacoma is an important part of our local community, so it was deeply important for me to create something significant in this place with so much history," he said. "That the project is a Western art collection adjacent to a modern art collection, is incredibly exciting. It's an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences in American art, to examine our history and contemplate our future."
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Peter Zumthor “reins it in” with updates to his Los Angeles art museum proposal

Peter Zumthor's $ 600 million plan for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is changing. Again. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, the sprawling and curving black form has been angled off, weighted to the south, and outfitted with greyish, double-height galleries poking up above the main mass' roofline. The building still swoops over Wilshire Boulevard to avoid disturbing the La Brea Tar Pits, but it will now have just two entrances (instead of seven), at its north and south ends, and its continuous loop of perimeter hallway galleries has been removed. "Peter hasn't given up the curve. But he's really, really reined it in," LACMA Director Michael Govan told the Times. The latest design will be discussed tonight, Wednesday, March 25 at Occidental College, as part of the school's "3rd Los Angeles Project," a series of public events examining the city's move into a "dramatically new phase in its civic development." Members of the panel will include host Christopher Hawthorne, Govan, journalists Greg Goldin and Carolina Miranda, and architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors has approved initial funding of $125 million in bonds (pending approval of the project's EIR), but LACMA still needs to raise about $500 million to make Zumthor's in-progress scheme reality.
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Chicago’s Field Museum becomes just second such building to get Gold under LEED EB O+M

Chicago's natural history museum, the Field Museum, announced Monday it has earned a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council under the LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EB O+M) program, becoming just the second museum in the nation to do so. (The Madison Children's Museum is the other.) Two of the museum's halls already achieved LEED certification separately, including its Conservation Hall, which is LEED Gold. But Monday's announcement marks a building-wide rating seldom seen for such building types—the hulking museum, made of limestone and Georgian marble, comprises nearly half a million square feet. Its 3D Theater is also certified under LEED for Interior Design & Construction. Greening a museum that dates back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition was no simple task. (The current building opened in 1921, originally planned by Daniel Burnham and designed by his associate William Peirce Anderson.) In many places its neoclassical stone walls don't have an air gap with the interior brick and plaster, making it difficult to regulate the building's temperature. And, as was made clear when the museum applied for LEED certification, it doesn't function on a typical building's schedule. “A normal building might shut down at 5 [o'clock], but not for us,” said Ernst Pierre-Toussaint, the museum's director of facilities, planning and operations. More than 99 percent of the museum's collection is in storage, which has to be climate controlled and monitored constantly. Pierre-Toussaint said improving energy efficiency has been a goal for at least 15 years. Working with the Delta Institute—an environmental consultant that worked with the Field Museum on the project—Field Museum staff replaced about 30 percent of the building's 6,700 incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and installed 100 kilowatts of rooftop photovoltaic panels. Pierre-Toussaint said they hope to install up to 220 kW more—enough to offset 10 to 15 percent of the building's peak electricity demand —by 2025. The museum accounts for all of its natural gas consumption by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. Much of the certification work came down to mechanical system logistics. The museum has 11 separate electric meters, and 13 for water use. Since some collections and accessible areas need to be heated—even during summer—while others are cooled, the museum installed demand-control ventilation to regulate air in sensitive exhibits individually. “We made huge strides over the past two years and are proud to share the results with our visitors,” said Richard Lariviere, the museum's president, in a press release. “One of the big challenges is planning long-term,” said the Delta Institute's Kevin Dick. “You can certainly make quick fixes. But you know an institution like this isn't going anywhere. So in 40 years what will this look like?”
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After a year-long search, the Met chooses David Chipperfield to design the museum’s new wing

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that David Chipperfield has been selected to "develop a new design for the Southwest Wing for modern and contemporary art, and potentially for adjacent galleries for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, as well as additional operational spaces." In a statement, Thomas P. Campbell, the director and CEO of The Met, said Chipperfield's firm was selected after a year-long process because of its global experience and sense of collaboration. Campbell also noted the firm's extensive museum work, calling it "brilliantly coherent, elegant, and accessible." Chipperfield's team is now tasked with increasing gallery space, enhancing visitor circulation, doubling the Roof Garden, and creating accessible on-site storage. “We are delighted to have been selected for this extraordinary commission," David Chipperfield said in a statement. "During the competition we developed an understanding and fondness for this amazing institution and we look forward to working with Tom Campbell and his colleagues on the development of the design.” While the design process is just beginning, the Met said the renovation will support "a more open dialogue between the Museum and Central Park." The potential impact of this renovation on the park itself could be the most controversial aspect of this project and will surely be closely watched. While construction is underway, the Met's collection will be temporarily moved to the Breuer Building, the former home of the Whitney, which is moving into a new Renzo Piano–designed space near the High Line. The old Whitney building will open to the public next spring as a satellite campus of the Met.
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Comment> The Met Plaza redesign undermines the institution’s civic grandeur

In February of the year 2012, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art first announced the redesign of the City-owned Fifth Avenue-fronted plaza along its grand McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts facade, there was little opposition from preservationists. A $65 million underwriting pledge from museum trustee, David H. Koch, catalyzed the selected competitive plan from Philadelphia-based OLIN. It proceeded through the approval process with relative dispatch. Curiously when first unveiling the OLIN proposal, the Museum stated explicitly that despite Mr. Koch’s enlivening donation, the resulting plaza renovation would in fact not bear his name. Anonymity on top of benevolence spells charitable grace at its peak. Pretty much the sole impediment to this civic embellishment—so welcome against existing conditions of cracked sidewalks, failing hydraulics, deformed and dying trees, a long-neglected fountain, and meager old-fashioned exterior lighting—were the cries of what seemed at the time just another hopeless band of Luddites reflexively resistant to change of any sort. They included tree huggers acting as they did as if the jejune water-choked grove then there consisted of old growth sequoias instead of pooped out sycamores. More recent opposition came from those protesting the donor himself as they heatedly dissed his many such civic good works in the realms of culture, medicine and education as little more than candy-coated camouflage of his role as Citizen’s United election-stealing kingpin. In this way, focus shifted away from plaza’s design and impact on form and function to the symbolism of support, especially when in the end the David H. Koch name was indeed carved with gilded precision on the new fountain basins heralding all those approaching whether from north or south. More considered objection first came, however, from the testimony of the New York/Tri-State Chapter of DOCOMOMO given before the aesthetic overseers at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They argued for the integrity of the plaza solution that was part of the original overall 1970 Kevin Roche Met master plan, which even forty years later is still generally in guiding force:
Roche’s declared design intention was to create an open urban plaza that defers to and displays the monumental Beaux-Arts façade of the museum. He wanted to distinguish the urban face …on Fifth Avenue from the park portions of the other three sides... (The Chapter) is hopeful that any modifications to the present plaza, to the extent that they are necessary, conform to the underlying principles of the Kevin Roche design-preserving an open urban plaza with unimpeded access to (his ingeniously three –sided) entrance stairway and unobstructed visibility of the stairs, adjacent facades and ground level entrances.
And with the results now plain, how right they were. With the exception of a masterwork of exterior nighttime illumination by Hervé Descottes and his L’Observatoire International that subtly responds to the architecture’s classical hierarchies and the replenishment of the subsoil, it is only now that the relative dignity of this earlier renovation is fully evident. Restoration of the restoration was a worthy option after all. Apologies are due them. Despite some working drawings from McKim, Mead, & White in which the option of flower and shrub beds appeared alongside the façade elevation, their final intent was clear with the dignified built encounter of limestone and pavers accentuated further by the pedestrian-scaled Roman grills that inform urban places of majesty and safe-keeping. OLIN’s decision to place such beds there seems a pallid suburbanization vying to extend the park setting instead of contrasting it. Imagine flowers alongside the Pantheon or its Renaissance-descended Palazzo Farnese? Meanwhile, the new fountains, while retaining a classical symmetry, end up compromising the pomp and circumstance of the Roche-thrusting and much expanded grand stairs with a tight perplexing proximity. The visitor today cannot help but wonder if it is some disguised stab at crowd control. And while their new placement was meant in part to make more legible the secondary street-grade entrance at 81st Street, the trade-off is untested and dubious; who can resist mounting those stairs? This is a classical threshold at its iconic best. The waterworks vary in height and rhythm in a mannered echo of WET Design’s signature creations yet at low height the sprouts seem more than a tinkle. The previous fountains recalled the classical rigor that informed so much of high Modernism. This was never meant as a playful place. Instead it was always meant for unencumbered dignity; all who enter should arrive as big shots knowing that they each held a key to this great repository of beauty and truth. Likewise the addition of dozens of trees even as now young and leafless obscures the architecture. What about in 20 years? It is hard to object to more trees in this warned up day and age but here is one place where the sum is less than the design parts. Finally and through no fault of either client or landscape architect there is a the all too frequent New York curse of visual pollution as arises in public places, where governing statures collide and, in turn, destroy the clarity of the guiding design blueprint. Here at the Met plaza, it is the curbside licensed food vendors. Ironically the spot-on instinct on the Museum’s part to include in its initial plan outdoor kiosks for such inevitable trade was denied by the oversight Landmarks and Public Design Commissions in convenient disregard for the ultimate reality of the streets. With the present redesign, Mr. Koch might well wish that for now at least his name not be its site label after all. He seems shortchanged as much as those he generously aims to benefit.
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MCA Chicago unveils new logo, plans for image overhaul with help from Johnston Marklee

Change is underway at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. At a press conference Friday MCA officials revealed that the institution is working on a new image, new programming and even a new master plan for the museum's space led by Los Angeles–based design firm Johnston Marklee. The announcement was timed to coincide with the last push of a major fundraising campaign. The museum has quietly raised $60 million in recent years, nearing a “vision campaign” goal of $64 million. Today they revealed their latest donation: $10 million from Kenneth Griffin, an MCA trustee who is also the richest man in Illinois. MCA's fourth floor galleries will now bear his name. “We've been thinking about what a 21st Century museum looks like,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn, MCA's director. Citing figures from the National Endowment for the Arts, Grynsztejn said the museum needs to become more “responsive” to the community—“a civic institution of local necessity and international distinction.” Part of that mission includes converting the cafe space into an “engagement zone” for public events, performances and education. Museum goers looking for a snack will have to find it on the first floor, where a new restaurant will front onto Pearson Street. Those and other changes to the 1996, Josef Paul Kleihues–designed building's programming are part of a new masterplan currently in development at the offices of architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee. Dutch designers Armand Mevis and Linda Van Deursen of the firm Mevis & Van Deursen also designed a new logo for the museum—part of a larger campaign to rebrand the museum and reengage with a public tempted to seek out art online or otherwise outside the Streeterville museum's walls. MCA has had some success reinvigorating popular conversation about contemporary art with its David Bowie Is exhibition, which recently wrapped up its run at the museum after drawing nearly 200,000 visitors—an MCA record, according to Grynsztejn. “The Bowie show challenged the MCA to raise our game,” she said. That could include expanding hours or more drastically reconsidering the museum's model, Grynsztejn wondered aloud Friday. But it will definitely include more shows for young artists on the cusp of a breakout, said curator Michael Darling, as well as more interactive exhibitions. Darling pointed to an upcoming residency by the Grammy-winning chamber group Eighth Blackbird, which he said would include unannounced and improvised performances throughout the museum, with the intent to connect the public with contemporary music and the process of creating it.
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Winning Designs for World’s First Sci-Fi Museum on View at Brooklyn Public Library

  Science fiction’s outlandish imaginings are set to become reality, with  the top 10 designs for the world’s first sci-fi museum on display at the Brooklyn Public Library through May 31. Naturally, the first-of-its-kind project warrants no less than a high-tech, out-of-this-world edifice worthy of Star Trek. The winning design by graduate student Emily Yen, titled Schrödinger’s Box, proposes a 3,990 square foot modular museum comprised of a trapezoid frame with infilled planes at various heights (think staggered wall shelving). An exterior insulated plastic cube is then hung from the frame, while a flexible fabric roof pivots around the opaque projection wall “facilitating connections to the universe and beyond,” according to Yen’s proposal. “It explores the imagination that anything is possible—it’s infinite. I think [Yen’s] design really teaches you to dream big,” said Barbara Wing, Manager of Exhibitions at BPL. A runner-up design by Indonesian architect Ko Wibowo perpetuates the concept of a roving museum with a building designed entirely from boxes affixed to trailers, with each one connected to the other by electrically charged magnetic edges. The boxes will be prefabricated off-site and designed to easily detach—facilitating relocation of the museum via truck or train. Sliding steel doors protect the glass-facing sides during transportation and control interior sun exposure for when the museum is reconfigured in different locales. Aspiring simultaneously towards a galactic dreamscape and the futuristic technologies of the sci-fi genre, the museum’s interior and exterior will be informed by a “utopia” (organic) and “dystopia” (industrial) concept respectively. The building will sport an industrial-looking front made from clear-coated raw steel and silicone-insulated glass. The indoors, meanwhile, will be awash in constellation-like lighting reflected off movable stainless steel walls with a mirror-like finish. Overhead, the brushed aluminium ceiling is embedded with self-illuminating signage. Knocking the ball out of the technological park is the creator of virtual reality experience “Project Anywhere,” Constantinos Miltiadis, who proposes a completely empty, non-descript building where museumgoers’ experience is mediated entirely through a wireless head-mounted display. Users dock their smartphones on the virtual reality headset for a customized experience of navigating a traditional museum—only virtually. While the concept of windowless-basement-as-museum may seem somewhat unsettling, Miltiadis’ point about eliminating physical constraints has merit. “The USS Enterprise, therefore, could be exhibited in its real scale: it can fly above you, take off and land,” he wrote in his proposal. Jonathan Spencer, Corporate Counsel at the Museum of Science Fiction, would like to see this technology come to fruition in the near future. "Some of the concepts which we hope to be able to incorporate are to allow visitors to have an augmented reality. Of course we would still have physical exhibits but augmented reality would allow us to bring educational programs to schools," he said. The Science Fiction Museum's primary goal is to inspire interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) by exploring the genre through film, literature, art, graphic novels and music. Following its appearance at the Brooklyn Public Library, previews of the Museum of Science Fiction will be exhibited in Los Angeles, Milan, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Berlin, Moscow and London.
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Letter to the Editor> A Bright Future for the Frick

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] I am delighted with the recent Crit’s praise for the beautifully renovated Cooper Hewitt (AN 01_01.14.2015), but I am puzzled by the inconsistency with regard to the Frick Collection’s expansion plans.   The piece says of the Cooper Hewitt, “working within the building’s constraint, they relocated offices to adjacent buildings”—which is precisely what the Frick proposes to do! It goes on to admire the Cooper Hewitt’s “better shop and lovely looking cafe,” but appears to deplore such amenities for the Frick! As a longtime New Yorker and lover of the Frick, I want this revered museum to stay (it will) the same; and I also want it to keep renewing itself (it could) in fresh and exciting ways, as every great institution must do or—over time—be diminished. The Frick has challenges with space and visitor services that need to be met: for example, to replace the awkward and unappealing underground galleries with, say, a concert-lecture hall; to create modern, adequate new galleries; to provide a loading entrance and other essential facilities; to widen and make more cheerful and user friendly the too narrow and gloomy reception hall; to integrate the superb library into the museum to be more accessible to the public—and so much more. And what opportunities to seize: open more fully to the public the historic Frick House; better accommodate the brilliant special exhibitions that now have to scramble, if they can find display space at all; enhance publications, public programming, and art acquisitions. (Some say that no way should the Frick be bringing in new treasures! By what authority, one wonders? Would they be happier without the Rembrandt, Ingres, Piero, Houdon, Clodion, and Murillo recently added to the museum?). The time is now; given the chance, the glorious Frick Collection could become even grander, even more beloved than it now is. I devoutly hope it will have that chance. Joan K. Davidson President, Furthermore President Emeritus, J.M. Kaplan Fund Former Chair, New York State Council on the Arts