UPDATE: Since we first reported on this story, the Architectural League of New York has written an open letter to the MoMA, calling for “a compelling justification for the cultural and environmental waste of destroying this much-admired, highly distinctive twelve-year-old building.” Signatories include Steven Holl, Thoma Mayne, Richard Meier, and Robert A. M. Stern. You can find the letter here.
As we reported
yesterday, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has announced their plans to demolish the 12-year old American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams & Bille Tsien. The MoMA, which has planned a new expansion on either side of Williams & Tsien’s building, claims that the building will prevent the floors from lining up and thus must be demolished. Moreover, officials claim that the building’s opaque facade isn’t in keeping with the MOMA’s glass aesthetic.
Designers and architects, outraged by the MoMA’s decision to destroy such a young and architecturally important part of New York’s urban fabric, are now challenging the validity of the MoMA’s claim. Not only has a petition been started to prevent the demolition, but many are pleading with MoMa to consider how the Folk Art Museum could be integrated into the new expansion. In fact, a Tumblr – crowdsourcing ideas for potential re-designs - has even been set-up.
See more designers’ reactions & suggestions on how to save the American Folk Art Museum, after the break…
“There are of course the personal feelings — your buildings are like your children, and this is a particular, for us, beloved small child. But there is also the feeling that it’s a kind of loss for architecture, because it’s a special building, a kind of small building that’s crafted, that’s particular and thoughtful at a time when so many buildings are about bigness.” – Billie Tsien, quoted in The New York Times
After only 12 years, the Tod Williams & Billie Tsien-designed American Folk Art Museum is slated to be demolished. Despite the acclaim it has received from critics, including high praise from the likes of Paul Goldberger and Herbert Muschamp, and the importance it has been given in New York’s architectural landscape, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA, which bought the building in 2011) reports that it must tear down the building to make way for an imminent expansion.
At the time of its construction, the building was of the first new museums built in New York in over thirty years. Unfortunately, the building will more likely be remembered for its short life, taking, in the words of The New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin, “a dubious place in history as having had one of the shortest lives of an architecturally ambitious project in Manhattan.”
Read more about the American Folk Art Museum’s imminent demolition, after the break…
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects’ highly anticipated multidisciplinary arts center has opened at the University of Chicago in Illinois. Serving as a landmark on the south end of campus, the 184,000 square foot Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts is the new home to UChicago’s academic and extracurricular programs in cinema and media studies, creative writing, music, theater and performance studies, and the visual arts.
Inspired by the “flat prairies of the Midwest and the great towers of Chicago”, the new arts hub is comprised of a light-filled glass and stone tower and a three-story “podium” with a saw-tooth roof. The 170-foot tower houses a performance penthouse, screening room, rooftop deck, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance labs, while the podium features studio space, music practice rooms, workshops, a café, a digital media center, production and editing labs, two theaters, and a 474-seat performance hall.
The University is pursuing LEED Silver Certification for the Logan Center, as the design features regionally sourced materials, a “green roof,” and solar panels.
More images and the architects’ description after the break…
At the gardens of the Arsenale designed by Piet Oudolf, a small pavilion, the Casa Scaffali, encloses a fantastic world of smells, textures and artifacts, a Wunderkammer (wonder-room) curated by NY-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
A special group of architects and artists from around the world were invited to share the artifacts that inspire them, shipped in boxes to the Biennale.
We had the chance to interview Tod Williams and Billie Tsien during the opening of Wunderkammer, and we also got a chance to see them both and their team setting up the installation during the previous days, a special atmosphere as they were opening these boxes now turned into chests full of surprises.
The group includes Anthony Ames, Marwan Al Sayed, Matthew Baird, Shigeru Ban, Marlon Blackwell, Will Bruder, Wendell Burnette, Johan Celsing, Taryn Christoff and Martin Finio, Annie Chu and Rick Gooding, W.G. Clark, Brad Cloepfil, Chen Chen and Kai Williams, Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, Stephen Iino, Toyo Ito, Bijoy Jain, Claudy Jongstra, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Jennifer Luce, Thom Mayne, Richard Meier, Murray Moss, Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin, Enrique Norten, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey, Juhani Pallasmaa, Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, Karen Stein, Elias Torres and José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Peter Zumthor.
Text from the architects after the break:
Last year, The Barnes Foundation - Albert Barnes collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern paintings and horticulture – began its move from its original location in Merion, Pennsylvania to a new building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien in Philadelphia. Close to five years in the making, the “Gallery in a Garden” Barnes Foundation Building officially opened on May 19, 2012. The design was predicated on the arrangement of the galleries within the original building and a desire to invite new programs into the scheme, such as a garden and classrooms.
Continue reading to learn more.
Rather than trying to compete with the sublime landscape of Utah, New York City based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects chose to create a building that framed the views and contained a perspective from which to appreciate the alpine landscape. This design is one of five proposals for the transformation of the Kimball Art Center in Park City.
More on this proposal after the break.
In 1976, art enthusiast Bill Kimball transformed the 1929 Kimball Bros automotive garage into a non-profit community center for the visual arts, now known as the Kimball Art Center. Located in the heart of downtown Park City, Utah, the non-profit center serves as a gathering place for individuals to experience art through education, exhibitions and events. The aging historic building is in need of restoration and an addition that will allow the organization to increase their educational outreach and enhance the quality and scale of the exhibitions, while maintaining free admission to the public.
BIG, Brooks + Scarpa, Sparano + Mooney Architecture, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, and Will Bruder + Partners LTD are the five architects selected to submit final proposals for the transformation of the Kimball Art Center.
Continue after the break to watch each firm’s introductory presentation.
The last chance to see the Barnes Foundation’s artwork in its original setting has passed. It is now being prepared for the move to its new home in downtown Philadelphia. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien designed the new building for the Barnes Foundation with respect for its strong history and as a reflective addition of the foundation’s mission. The building is scheduled for completion in late 2011. More after the break.
Stretched upon three acres of land in the Hamptons in Long Island, New York, the Long Island Residence by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is a quiet, serene home that blends in with the tranquility of nature that surrounds it. Also known as the Rifkind residence, Williams and Tsien designed the house for clients Robert, a lawyer, and Arleen Rifkind, a pharmacolegy professor, and their children. Due to their busy city lives in Manhatten, the Rifkinds wanted a weekend retreat where they could go with family and friends to relax and embrace the outdoors. Therefore the solution, in the words of Williams and Tsien, was “a house that is marked by quiet serenity, openess to the landscape, and a sense of spaciousness without monumentality.”
More on the Long Island Residence after the break.
Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, University of Chicago / Tod Williams Billie Tsien & Associates
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, a renowned practice with expertise in public/cultural buildings, just unveiled the details for the new Reva and David Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Chicago.
This new building will offer 170,000sqf for studios, rehearsal space, director’s cut screening rooms, state–of–the art acoustical theaters, lecture rooms and set–building shops, that will be shared by many departments including visual arts, theater, music, as well as cinema and media studies.
The project includes a 11-story tall tower, which will become a new landmark at the south of the campus. At the top of this tower we find the Performance Penthouse, a tall space for performances and rehearsals with an amazing view over the city (see render below).
The rest of the complex is distributed on smaller buildings, with an interesting set of skylights to naturally lit the interiors.
As usual in Tod Williams Billie Tsien works, such as the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the Phoenix Art Museum and the East Asian Library at Berkeley, the simplicity of the materials (stone and glass) give the building a contemporary yet ageless look, a building that will stand over time, not just a fad.
More renderings after the break.