A cross-section view showing the changes to the existing interior spaces and the new underground galleries. (Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP)
Philadelphia Museum of Art unveils massive renovation plan in exhibition
By Kristie Rearick/South Jersey Times
The Philadelphia Museum of Art unveiled architect Frank Gehry's plan for the renovation and expansion of its home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in an exhibition called "Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry's Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art" which opens July 1 at the museum.
The exhibit will offer a first look at the design. The plan reorganizes and expands the building, adding more than 169,000 square feet of space. Included in the exhibition, which will be on view in the Dorrance Galleries July 1 until Sept. 1, will be large-scale models, site plans, sections and renderings. The project will ultimately transform the interior of one of the city's most iconic buildings, giving the museum more space to display its collection.
"Making a Classic Modern" will introduce visitors to the various ways in which Gehry and his creative team have addressed the challenges and opportunities of updating this historic building. The building is in need of substantial renovation, reorganization and expansion to meet current and future needs.
Gehry's design focuses on the transformation of the interior of the art museum through the renovation of beloved spaces such as the Great Stair Hall and major improvements to how visitors will enter and move through the building. The design also calls for the creation of a significant amount of new space for expanded educational activities and the display of the museum's extensive holdings of American, Asian, and modern and contemporary art in new galleries created both within the existing building and underneath the East Terrace.
"We began by studying the character of this wonderful building — its DNA, so to speak. It is rare to have the bones of the existing building show you the way to expand it," Gehry said. "From there, we used the significant assets that the original architects gave us to create a strong entry sequence and circulation pattern that connects the new galleries to the existing building in a way that makes the new galleries seem like they have always been there. My goal is to make the building feel like one coherent design statement."
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For information, call 215-763-8100 or visit www.philamuseum.org.