Architects, urban planners and preservationists throughout the world are mourning the impending loss of New York City’s American Folk Art Museum building. In a statement released this week, MoMA confirmed plans to move ahead with the demolition of the beloved building, saying that there simply was no workaround. Museum officials say that the removal of the bronze-clad structure was necessary to make way for MoMA’s redesign and expansion led by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architect, the American Folk Art Museum is only 12 years old and has received critical acclaim for its hammered bronze facade and architectural design. After the public’s backlash in response to MoMA’s proposal to raze the museum back in April, Diller Scofidio + Renfro conducted a six-month study and design process to see whether Williams and Tsien Architects’ design could be saved. “The analysis that we undertook was lengthy and rigorous,” says Glenn Lowry, the director of the MoMA, “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.”
Diller Scofido + Renfro’s proposed design will add 40,000 square feet of gallery space and public areas, an expansion sorely needed in the oft overcrowded MoMA. In addition to its extension into the former American Folk Art Museum site, the new design will be integrated with three floors of a residential tower. The expanded first floor and Sculpture Garden will also be open to the public for free. MoMA plans to start construction later this spring or summer with an expected completion date in 2018 or 2019.