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Displaying items by tag: Renovation

Tuesday, 15 January 2013 11:32

The Met Breaks Ground on David H. Koch Plaza

A formal ground-breaking ceremony for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new David H. Koch Plaza was held on January 14, 2013 in New York. The $65 million project, which was announced in February 2012, has been underway since October but was postponed due to complications associated with Hurricane Sandy. The plaza is expected to reach completion in the fall of 2014.

Funded by Met trustee and philanthropist, David H. Koch, the project includes the installation of new fountains and the redesign of a four-block-long outdoor plaza that runs in front of the Met’s Fifth Avenue façade from 80th to 84th Streets. The sidewalks alongside the museum’s entrance, which see six million pedestrians a year, will also be repaired.

While the Met has made a number of indoor improvements over the years, the outdoor overhaul is much needed. Built in the 1970s along with the existing plaza, the museum’s original fountains, which are now deteriorated, will be replaced by contemporary granite fountains. The new structures will be positioned closer to the museum’s front steps, improving access to the street-level entrances. The redesign also includes tree-shaded allées, improved seating areas, and energy-efficient lighting. The Met’s iconic front steps will be left untouched.

Philadelphia-based landscape architecture and urban design firm, Olin, will be the lead design consultants for the project.

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The Art Institute of Chicago is sending almost 100 European modern art masterpieces to the Kimbell Art Museum in For Worth, Texas. Part of a four-month traveling exhibition, the show at the Kimbell is slated to open on October 6, 2013 and run through February 16, 2014.

Renowned for its collection of modern European art, the Art Institute of Chicago will loan its works to the Kimbell while their own galleries undergo renovations. The Kimbell is the only museum to host the Art Institute’s traveling exhibition.

The show will include sculptures and paintings by Juan Gris (1887-1927), Georges Braque (1882-1963), Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), Paul Klee (1879-1940), Joan Miró (1893-1983), and Marc Chagall (1887-1985). Two major highlights of the show are Henri Matisse’s (1869-1954) Bathers by a River (1909-10) and Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Old Guitarist (1903).

The Kimbell hosted an exhibition of Impressionist works from the Art Institute of Chicago back in 2008. The show was one of the best regarded in the Kimbell’s history.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:51

New York Public Library Releases Renovation Details

For the first time since announcing plans to renovate ten months ago, the New York Public Library has released a number of important project details. Located in a landmark building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the New York Public Library’s $300 million renovation will be overseen by the London-based firm, Foster & Partners.

Architect Norman Foster announced plans to clear out the back portion of the library, which is now occupied by seven floors of books. The 1.2 million ousted volumes will be relocated to a storage space under Bryant Park as well as another facility in Princeton, New Jersey. Most of the exiled books are now available digitally and library officials purposely chose rarely requested books to be relocated. With the newly freed up space, Foster plans to create a four-level atrium with curving balconies filled with bookshelves and reading tables overlooking Bryant Park. It will be the first time since the library was built in 1911 that patrons will be able to see the park.

The library received a fair amount of criticism after announcing plans to renovate. Critics claimed that officials were not forthcoming enough with project details and that the relocation of books stood in stark contrast to the institution’s purpose. In response, Foster revised plans and 3.3 million of the library’s 4.5 million volumes will remain on site.

The busiest public research library in the United States, the New York Public Library will span 100,000 square feet after renovations are complete. Construction is slated to begin this summer and is expected to last until 2018.


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Yale University Art Gallery will celebrate the completion of a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation and expansion on December 12. The project cost $135 million and increased exhibition space by about one-third. The museum, which is located in New Haven, CT, now boasts nearly 70,000 square feet and includes a gallery devoted to African, Asian, and Pre-Columbian art that was designed by Louis Kahn in 1953, the Old Yale Art Gallery, which features ancient, European, and contemporary art, and the 1866 Street Hall. The project joined all three buildings to create one cohesive institution.

Besides the physical expansion, the Yale University Art Gallery has significantly increased its collection’s holdings. The museum acquired 1,100 new works including African terra-cotta figures, Greco-Roman coins, medals from the American Revolution, and marble portraits of Marcus Aurelius and Plato over 1,700 years old.

The expansion and renovation were designed and led by Duncan Hazard and Richard Olcott, partners in New York’s Ennead Architects. The project took 14 years to complete and outfitted the museum with new areas for exhibitions and object study and increased access to the Gallery’s comprehensive collections.

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The three-year, $70 million remodeling of the New-York Historical Society is not just a cosmetic affair. That is clear the moment you approach the main entrance’s widened steps on Central Park West and see a bronze, life-size statue of Abraham Lincoln standing in casual welcome.

Lincoln is on the steps, among us, prepared for photo ops that will most likely disrupt pedestrian traffic during Friday’s reopening of the renovated institution. And around the corner, on 77th Street, Frederick Douglass poses in bronze near the society’s other major entrance.

But why Lincoln and Douglass? Neither had anything to do with the society’s founding in 1804. Neither was born in New York. And while Lincoln visited and Douglass lived here for a time, they appear now for a particular purpose. They are making a statement about the society’s vision. They are key figures in the abolition of slavery in the United States, representing both the democratic ideal and the struggles required to realize it.

And these are also central themes in a conceptual reconfiguration of the society that began in 2004, when Louise Mirrer became its president. In recent exhibitions, current displays and a high-tech introductory film being shown in the new state-of-the-art auditorium, slavery has been placed close to the narrative center of American history.

So have the tensions between the ideals and failings of American democracy. The failings are chronicled and the ideals championed with great energy. Both condemnations and celebrations are partly populist, partly the result of an increased attention to New York’s ethnically diverse past, partly a desire to expand the audience, and partly an intellectual enterprise. Some of the building’s extensive renovations — which include a reconfiguring of display space, a new children’s museum, an expansive entrance gallery and a new restaurant — are meant to resonate with those themes.

The society actually seems to have a new center of gravity. And you can feel the shifts underfoot as you enter. On occasion the result is an institutional pratfall (as in some aspects of the opening gallery); other times (as in many sections of a major new exhibition on the American, French and Haitian Revolutions) they lead to powerful perspectives.

The change is also reflected in the self-consciously imposing building, constructed between 1903 and 1908, designed by York & Sawyer. The modifications by Platt Byard Dovell White Architects emphasize not monumental elevation but democratic accessibility, including a wider staircase and expanded entrance that lead into a new opening gallery, visible through transparent walls from Central Park West.

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