Timeline set for demolishing folk art museum's former home
Scaffolding and protective netting to go up on Monday as MoMA prepares to tear down the building for its expansion
By Julia Halperin. Web only
Published online: 12 April 2014
The demolition of the American Folk Art Museum's former home is due to begin within the month despite protests from architects, preservationists and critics. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, which purchased the building in 2011 after the folk art museum defaulted on its debt, plans to raze it in order to accommodate its expansion, expected to open by 2018.
Last week, the museum filed plans with New York’s buildings department to conduct a “partial demolition” of the building, as well as other construction work, for $1.6m, according to the New York Daily News. Building crews are scheduled to begin erecting scaffolding and protective netting on the structure on Monday 14 April. The process is expected to last about two weeks and deconstruction will follow. The demolition work is due to be complete by this summer, according to a MoMA spokeswoman.
The decision to demolish the American Folk Art Museum building, which was designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects in 2001, caused such a ruckus when it was first announced in 2013 that MoMA asked the architecture firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro to take a second look at the plans and see if it could be avoided. In January, the architects announced they had found no alternative. “You pass a tipping point where there’s not enough of the original structure to actually maintain its identity,” the architect Elizabeth Diller told the New York Times at the time.
MoMA has said that it intends to preserve the 63 unique bronze panels that comprise the building’s 82ft-tall façade. Construction crews are expected to remove them one by one before demolition begins, though the objects are “not entering MoMA’s collection, and no decision has been made at this point as to future plans”, a spokeswoman says.
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