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The Smithsonian Institution has announced the details of a new $2 billion plan to renovate the area of museums and gardens in its South Mall campus, including a “revitalization” of the Castle, its administrative headquarters.

Under the design by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, new entrances will be installed and connections made between the museums and gardens along Independence Avenue, SW, from Seventh to 12th Streets.

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The Massachusetts State Legislature is expected to vote this summer on a measure to fund a huge expansion at New England arts institution MASS MoCA.

Adding about 150,000 square foot of usable capacity, the expansion “would create a large quarter-mile-long figure-8 [shaped] layout—essentially double our exhibition space,” said longtime director Joseph Thompson in an interview with artnet News. The $25.4 million grant, in tandem with private monies already partly raised, would allow the Berkshires cultural institution to renovate more of its existing 26-building campus. The expansion would “open up a much more gracious circulation for the museum,” noted Thompson.

The measure has already passed several hurdles in the legislature, and museum staffers deem passage likely.

Published in News
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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