Ever-growing MoMA splits its controversial expansion plans into three phases

Architecture, East, News
Thursday, January 28, 2016
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DS+R's original MoMA expansion plans called for demolishing the American Museum of Folk Art to erect a glass curtain wall at MoMA's main entrance on 53rd Street. (Courtesy DS+R)

DS+R’s original MoMA expansion plans called for demolishing the American Museum of Folk Art to erect a glass curtain wall at MoMA’s main entrance on 53rd Street. (Courtesy DS+R)

When MoMA debuted its Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)–led expansion and renovation plans in 2014, the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly negative. Those plans called for demolishing the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum and creating a glass curtain wall that would open MoMA’s entire first floor to the public, for free. It’s not the free part critics took issue with: It was the perceived chaos of the museum-goer experience and wholesale destruction of the folk art museum.

MoMA took note, and pulled plans back. This week, revised plans were revealed. DS+R is still the architect (with Gensler), and the original objective—to create unfettered movement between galleries—remains. But a lot has also changed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bronze on Your Hands: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Faces Folk Museum Backlash

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

The doomed Folk Art Museum. (Photo by Dan Nguyen / Flickr; Montage by AN)

Liz Diller faced down a hostile crowd at the recent “MoMA Expansion Conversation,” hosted by the Architectural League, the Municipal Art Society, and AIA New York. Apparently she’s had some practice.

One elder statesman of the New York architecture community reports that Diller made a series of phone calls to prominent architects prior to the public release of MoMA’s plans asking for their advice and support. This gray eminence apparently told her the firm should resign from the commission. At which point Ric Scofidio apparently chimed in, saying, succinctly, “Never!”

An editor from another publication reports rumors of dissent within Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Apparently some associates in the firm have asked not to work on the project, fearing a Scarlet Letter on their resumes.

The MoMA Folk Art Museum Debate, Now on Video

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
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The Architecture League of New York has released a video of the discussion convened last week to discuss to MoMA’s planned expansion. The move, which entails the demolition of the adjacent American Folk Art Museum, is a contentious one and has sparked much debate within the architectural community. Tuesday’s conversation included contributions from the Museum’s director, Glenn Lowry, Elizabeth Diller (principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who is overseeing the project), and a slew of other architects, journalists, and theorists who all questioned MoMA’s decision to do away with their Tod Williams Billie Tsien-designed neighbor.

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