Designers React to Folk Art Museum's Imminent Demolition

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...

Penn Station in 1911. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

As evidenced by the comments of our own ArchDaily readers, many architects are drawing a parallel between the decision to demolish the American Folk Art Museum with the misguided decision to demolish McKim, Mead, & White's Beaux Arts Masterpiece at Penn Station in 1963. It was a decision, made in the interest of commercial gain, that continues to be regretted by New Yorkers today. As Michael Petrus, one of the petition signers elegantly put it:

"MOMA should at least allow a talented team of architects and engineers to examine this issue before rashly and tragically deciding to act in way that will surely place MOMA in the same league of developers that tore down Penn Station. Any design team worth its salt could easily incorporate Folk Art into a larger scheme by contrasting the floor (mis)alignment and opacity of the W+T building. MOMA, are you about beauty and art or convenience and capital? Please, give your design team the opportunity to integrate one of the best NYC buildings of the past 100 years a chance." 

This is exactly the idea behind #FolkMoMA, a tumblr that is crowdsourcing ideas in protest of MoMA's decision. They hope that by gathering ideas and attention, MoMA will be forced to recognize other alternatives to demolition. To participate, just post your design idea to Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter (@FolkMoMA), Instagram, or Pinterest with the hashtag #FolkMoMa.

Courtesy of FolkMOMA

Sign the Petition

Check out the Tumblr

About this author
Cite: Vanessa Quirk. "Designers React to Folk Art Museum's Imminent Demolition" 23 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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