Folk Art Facade to be Preserved, Though Likely Not on 53rd Street

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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The white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

The white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum. (Dan Nguyen / Flickr)

The New York Times is reporting that MoMA has decided to disassemble the white bronze facade of the American Folk Art Museum building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. A controversial expansion plan, by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, calls for the demolition of the building to make way for a new “art bay” and circulation to new galleries in an adjacent tower designed by Jean Nouvel.

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.

Forum or Wake? MoMA’s Expansion Plans Spark Debate

East
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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Liz Diller. (Fran Parente)

Liz Diller. (Fran Parente)

Nearly 650 people crowded the auditorium at the Society for Ethical Culture on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Tuesday to debate MoMA’s expansion plans, which include the demolition of the Tod Williams Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) building.

More after the jump.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Respond to DS+R Plan to Tear Down Folk Art Building at MoMA

Architecture, East, Preservation
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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Conceptual sketch of DS+R's plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Conceptual sketch of DS+R’s plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Diller, Scofidio + Renfro announced today that their reorganization of the Museum of Modern Art will include the replacement of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s former American Folk Art Museum at 45 West 53rd street. Liz Diller said in her briefing that DS+R hoped to save the Folk Art building and repurpose it into a usable exhibit space or a connecting bridge between the new Jean Nouvel tower (which will have three floors of MoMA galleries) and the older parts of MoMA. However, “saving” the structure with its misaligned floors (to MOMA existing galleries) would mean compromising the integrity of the Williams Tsien structure.

One can imagine the logic of DS+R’s decision, but Williams and Tsien are, like any architects, sad to see the demise of their 2001 building that Herbert Muschamp said “transcend(s) cultural categories even as it helps define them.”

Read Williams and Tsien’s statement after the jump.

Petitions and Design Ideas Sprout to Save Folk Art Museum Building.

East
Friday, April 19, 2013
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(Courtesy FolkMoMA)

(Courtesy FolkMoMA)

As the chorus of criticism swells against MoMA’s plan to demolish the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a pair of petitions have been posted urging the Modern to reconsider its demolition plans. Also, a crowd-sourced tumblr, #FolkMoMA, is soliciting ideas for reuse of Williams and Tsien’s building. With all the action online, will anyone be taking to the streets for some old fashioned picketing? Will anyone chain themselves to the bronze facade? Has all this worry actually left the bubble of the architecture community?

View some of the FolkMoMA proposals after the jump.

SHFT+ALT+DEL> Design Moves for 09.23.2011

Shft+Alt+Del
Friday, September 23, 2011
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SHFT+ALT+DLT

SHFT+ALT+DLT

Design Trust for Public Space has announced the appointment of Susan Chin as the new Executive Director, effective October 10.  Chin has served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for over twenty years.

John Henderson has been appointed Managing Director at Morris Adjmi Architects.  Henderson was previously studio director at Clodagh Design in Manhattan.  Prior to this position, he was associate principal at STUDIOS Architecture in New York and D.C.

Material ConneXion and its sister company, Culture & Commerce, both part of Sandow Media Corporation, have announced the appointment of Susan Towers to the position of VP Marketing & Communications.  Towers was previously a partner at NICE Partners and has held marketing and PR roles with Kiehl’s since 1851 and Chandelier Towers, among others.

The New York City Department of Buildings has appointed Fred Mosher to the newly created title of Deputy Commissioner of Building Development to streamline the city’s construction process. Previously, Mosher was a senior technical architect at Skidmore Owings & Merill for nine years.

The beleaguered American Folk Art Museum, which will continue operations at 2 Lincoln Square, has appointed a new president of the board: Edward V. (Monty) Blanchard, Jr., a member of the museum’s board of directors since 2003.

Have news on career moves in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to people@archpaper.com!

Folks Weigh In On the Future of the Folk Art Museum

East
Friday, May 13, 2011
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American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Michael Moran)

American Folk Art Museum (Photo by Michael Moran)

Apparently the art world hates the American Folk Art Museum building! (Who knew?!) In the wake of the news that MoMA is buying the Todd Williams Billie Tsien-designed building, two of the art world’s more prominent voices both bashed the building and argued it hastened the Folk Art Museum’s decline. The esteemed Times critic Roberta Smith called it “unwelcoming” and argued that the museum’s fate was sealed by “lackluster, visionless leadership; the weak economy; and inappropriate architecture.” Smith’s husband happens to be Jerry Saltz, the pugnacious art critic for New York, who went much further in a piece titled, “Architecture Killed the American Folk Art Museum.” He called the building, “ugly and confining, it was also all but useless for showing art.”

Not everyone agrees!

Continue reading after the jump.

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