At this morning’s press event, The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) unveiled the completed renovations to the east end of its museum campus, while also revealing for the first time the full design of their multi-year expansion project designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler.
With the completion of the east wing renovation, which began in February 2016, the museum has created two spacious third-floor galleries by reconfiguring 15,000 square feet of space, allowing for better flexibility in installing the collection and temporary exhibitions.
Additionally, the building’s historic Bauhaus staircase has been extended to the ground level, enhancing access to the second floor, where Cafe 2 has been renovated and a new museum store and espresso bar will offer visitors views into the The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Gardens. On the ground floor a new first floor lounge will provide indoor seating with visual connections to the sculpture garden, while improvements to amenities including restrooms and a new street level coat check will enhance the overall visitor experience.
The first exhibition to utilize the new third-floor galleries will be the upcoming Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, scheduled to open June 12. The exhibition will take a retrospective look at Wright’s storied career on the 150th anniversary of his birth, featuring over 450 architectural drawings, models, fragments, films, furniture and more, including a number of pieces that have never before been publicly exhibited.
The full expansion plan, which will extend into the currently under-construction 53 W 53 (designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel), will add more than 100,000 square feet to the museum, including 50,000 square feet of gallery space (for a total of 175,00 square feet throughout the campus) and 22,000 square feet of public space (for a total of 109,000).
According to MoMA, the project is aimed at addressing three main goals: “to increase gallery space and allow the Museum to exhibit significantly more of its diverse collection in deeper and more interdisciplinary ways, to provide visitors with a more welcoming and comfortable experience, and to better connect the Museum to the urban fabric of midtown Manhattan.”
The expansion will allow the museum to completely redesign the circulation path through the campus, opening up the western portion to be nearly entirely dedicated to the display of art. A variety of spaces of different heights will interlock vertically, some of which will be lit naturally for the display of paintings and sculpture, and others equipped for performance or film.
“The design optimizes current spaces to be more flexible and technologically sophisticated, and creates more areas for visitors to pause and reflect,” the museum explains. “The 50,000 square feet of gallery space being added in the western portion of the building will enable MoMA to realize a long-held aspiration: to present significantly more of its collection through a series of fluid, interconnected narratives of modern and contemporary art across all mediums. The new galleries will provide an opportunity to reimagine the display of the Museum’s collection and showcase its depth, breadth, complexity, and diversity through a greater use of interdisciplinary installations, while also having rotating spaces devoted to specific mediums, including photography, architecture, and design.”
The expansion will also include a slate of new street-level galleries connecting to the MoMA Design and Book Store, which will feature a full-height glass wall to better connect the museum to the streetscape. The entire first floor of the museum, including the new galleries, will be completely open to the public, free of charge.
Elizabeth Diller, partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, said: “This project has called on us to work across MoMA’s rich architectural history, incorporating the Museum’s existing building blocks into a comprehensible whole through careful and deliberate interventions into previous logics, as well as the construction of new logics that arise from MoMA’s current aspirations. This work has required the curiosity of an archeologist and the skill of a surgeon. The improvements will make the visitor experience more intuitive and relieve congestion, while a new circulation network will knit together the expansion spaces with the lobbies, the theaters, and the Sculpture Garden to create a contiguous, free public realm that bridges street to street and art to city.”
“The design integrates the various facets of the Museum’s architectural history, creating a distinct clear-glass façade on 53rd Street that complements the existing Goodwin and Stone, Johnson, and Taniguchi buildings and invites a more open dialogue between interior and exterior spaces.”
The expansion project is expected to open in 2019. To mark the occasion, the entire Museum will be configured to display pieces from the collection, resulting in the largest individual display of collection works in the museum’s history.
News via MoMA.
Today, the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced a major retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright's work to be displayed in 2017, commemorating 150 years since the architect's birth.