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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. has announced that its Renwick Gallery, which houses the museum’s American craft and decorative arts collection from the 19th to 21st centuries, will undergo a major renovation. The Renwick Gallery, which opened to the public in 1972, will close to accommodate the project in early 2014 and is expected to reopen in 2016.

Project details are still being worked out and an exact cost for the renovations is yet to be determined. The Smithsonian is planning to use public funds to pay for half of the project and the rest will be paid through private partnerships. The project has already received a $335,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures initiative, as the Renwick Gallery is located in a National Historic Landmark building. The building’s construction began in 1859 and went on to house the city’s first art museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, upon its completion.

Museum officials plan to convert all of the Renwick Gallery’s lighting to energy efficient LED lights and wireless Internet access will be provided throughout the entire gallery. Heating, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, and fire safety systems will all be gutted and replaced. This will be the Renwick Gallery’s first renovation in 40 years.

Published in News
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.

Published in News