The American Folk Art Museum is to be demolished and replaced by a contemporary structure as part of ambitious expansion plans for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), it was confirmed this week. The 13-year-old building in downtown New York, which is known for its distinctive beaten copper facade, will be torn down to make way for MoMA’s glass-fronted structure housing two flexible exhibition and performance spaces. The new building will feature a glass wall which can be raised to allow direct access to a ticket-free area of the museum directly from street level.
The redesign and expansion is being carried out by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and construction is set to begin in summer 2014. It is estimated that the project will enlarge MoMA’s current gallery space by around 3,700 sq m.
The decision to raze the folk museum, procured by MoMA in 2011, was met with backlash within the architectural world when the news was originally announced in April 2013, and plans were revised to investigate ways of incorporating the existing building.
However, MoMA Director Glenn Lowry said in a statement released that the building could not be preserved without losing its integrity.
“The architects have been exploring the site holistically, with the goal of generating as many options as possible for achieving a thoughtfully resolved set of galleries and public spaces for the museum,” said Lowry. “After a lengthy and rigorous analysis, we have approved Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s recommendation for a new building on the site of the former museum.”