Openings Museums USA

Frick Collection plans expansion

The jewel box museum that houses the art of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick hopes to increase exhibition space and add a rooftop garden

The architecture firm Davis Brody Bond has been selected to design the six-storey, 42,000 sq. ft addition

The Frick Collection, New York’s jewel box museum, is planning a six-storey, 42,000 sq. ft addition that will dramatically increase its exhibition space, expand the entrance hall and add a 220-seat auditorium, rooftop garden and updated conservation laboratories. The project will allow the museum to open the former living quarters of its founder, the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, to the public for the first time. The architecture firm Davis Brody Bond has been selected to design the expansion, which has an undisclosed budget and is due to be completed in 2017.

The museum, which has seen its attendance, staff and collection grow substantially in the past five years, expects to offer 50% more space for temporary exhibitions and 24% more space for its 1,200-work permanent collection, which includes masterworks by Vermeer and El Greco. Before the plan can move forward, however, the museum must present it to the neighbours and gain the approval of city landmark officials.

Among the potentially controversial elements of the renovation is the demolition of the beloved outdoor courtyard designed by Russell Page in 1977. Unlike the planned rooftop terrace, however, the gated garden on Fifth Avenue has never been accessible to the public.

Both the museum’s director Ian Wardropper and the architects say the project will be “respectful” and consistent with the style of the original Gilded Age mansion.

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