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Philadelphia Museum Of Art: The Latest Architecture and News

Philadelphia Museum of Art Breaks Ground on Frank Gehry's $196 Million Renovation Scheme

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has broken ground on the Core Project, a $196 million transformation of its main building led by Frank Gehry. In total, the renovation will add a total of 90,000 square feet to the museum, including 67,000 square feet of new public space, 11,500 square feet of gallery space for the museum’s American Art collection, and another 11,500 square feet of contemporary art display space.

As suggested by its name, The Core Project will focus on the heart of the museum; the main circulation of the building will be completely reorganized and museum infrastructure will receive much-needed upgrades, improving access to the community and enhancing the visitor experience.

AFTER: The Forum, looking west and up to Lenfest Hall. The Forum extends from Level A to Level C and will be one of the most highly trafficked and recognizable areas created during the Core Project. This stunning space will serve as a venue for performances and events, as well as a welcoming spot for visitors to socialize or orient themselves. Architectural rendering by Gehry Partners, LLP and KX-L. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art. BEFORE: The Van Pelt Auditorium, shown here in 2016, is being demolished to create the Forum. The auditorium was not part of the original design for the building, which opened in 1928; it was added in 1959. Photograph by Elizabeth Leitzell. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art. BEFORE: The Van Pelt Auditorium, shown here in 2016, is being demolished to create the Forum. The auditorium was not part of the original design for the building, which opened in 1928; it was added in 1959. Photograph by Elizabeth Leitzell. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art. AFTER: The Forum, looking east. Many significant improvements are happening on Level A, including the removal of the auditorium to create the Forum. The heart of the Museum will be opened up to simplify wayfinding. Architectural rendering by Gehry Partners, LLP and KX-L. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art. + 37

Gehry Unveils Designs to Extend the Philadelphia Art Museum Downwards

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has revealed Frank Gehry's designs for a 169,000 square foot expansion that will see the museum dig down to create a new set of galleries underneath its existing footprint. Already an unusual choice for a project whose brief called to preserve the architectural integrity of the existing building, Gehry's design is an unexpectedly muted intervention, focusing on interior rearrangement and additions that are in keeping with the 86 year-old building's aesthetic.

Perhaps the most dramatic alteration proposed by Gehry is a plan to punch a hole through the museum's famous 'Rocky steps', the iconic training location from the Rocky film series, creating a window into the new subterranean galleries; however as the $350 million project will by necessity by undertaken in stages, this intervention is likely to be a subject of discussion for some time.

More on the design after the break

A cross-section view showing the changes to the existing interior spaces and the new underground galleries. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP Lenfest Hall. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP The new underground galleries will be lit in part by a skylight in the East Terrace. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP The vaulted underground walkway, long closed to visitors, will become a space for art and events, with entrances at the north (Kelly Drive) and south (Schuylkill River) sides of the building. Image © Gehry Partners, LLP + 8