American Folk Art Museum to be demolished to make way for MoMA expansion
MoMA director Glenn Lowry has confirmed that the 13-year-old American Folk Art museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects and celebrated by many as a daring work of art with its sculptural beaten copper exterior, is to be razed to the ground to make way for MoMA's expansion.
"The plans approved today are the result of a recommendation from the architects [New York's Diller Scofidio + Renfro] after a diligent and thoughtful six-month study and design process that explored all options for the site. The analysis that we undertook was lengthy and rigorous, and ultimately led us to the determination that creating a new building on the site of the former American Folk Art Museum is the only way to achieve a fully integrated campus," Lowry said in a statement.
However, the decision has already met with criticism from many in the world of architecture and beyond who are angry that this work of architecture is to be destroyed.
It will integrate the current building with two sites to the west of the museum: three floors of a residential tower at 53 West 53rd Street and the former American Folk Art Museum. This will enable the museum to extend its galleries on the second, fourth and fifth floors, according to the design statement issued by MoMA.
The preliminary concepts which have been approved will transform the current lobby and ground-floor areas into an expansive public gathering space, open to the public and spanning the entire street level of the Museum, including The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, Lowry said.
In advance of these plans, the Museum will increase free public access to the Sculpture Garden later this year.