Philadelphia Museum of Art Renovation by Frank Gehry

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Philadelphia Museum of Art unveil the comprehensive plan that Frank Gehry has created for the renovation and expansion of its home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art” will offer a first look at a design that renews one of Philadelphia’s greatest landmarks. The Master Plan encompasses the full breadth of the Museum, from the East Entrance with its iconic “Rocky steps” facing Center City to the West Entrance overlooking the Schuylkill River.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtGehry’s design focuses on the transformation of the interior of the 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. Minimal changes have been proposed for the exterior by Gehry Partners and OLIN.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtThese changes include the redesign of the plaza in front of the West Entrance and the landscaping of a substantial portion of the area now used for parking on this side of the building; the integration of skylights and sunken gardens into the East Terrace to bring natural light into the new galleries that have been proposed; and the addition on the northeast and southeast corners of the building of stair enclosures that will be simple in form and clad in the same sandstone used on the exterior in order to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtBy contrast, many significant changes have been proposed for the interior, yielding an increase of 124,000 square feet of public space, including 78,000 square feet of gallery space throughout the building. The Gehry design will open new spaces to explore, such as the Forum and new galleries under the East Terrace. Among the interior changes are: The renovation of the two principal public entrance spaces in the Museum: Lenfest Hall and the Great Stair Hall. The creation of a new public space, or Forum, immediately below the Great Stair Hall in the center of the U-shaped Museum building.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Forum will dramatically improve circulation on this floor and open up the east-west axis at the center of the building, enabling visitors to reach the new galleries and adjacent public spaces that Gehry Partners have proposed be built below the East Terrace. The relocation of a variety of back-office functions to add nearly 23,000 square feet of new gallery space within the existing building; the creation of a new 10,000-square-foot Education Center; and the development of new visitor amenities, including a restaurant, café, and spaces for the Museum Store. The creation of 55,000 square feet of new space for the presentation of special exhibitions and works from the collection in galleries underneath the East Terrace.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtOpen in plan and filled with natural light, they will provide an ideal setting for the display of modern and contemporary art. The reopening of a public entrance on the north side of the Museum. Closed to the public since the 1970s, this monumental arched entrance adjacent to Kelly Drive will be renovated to provide access to a grand vaulted corridor—part of the original design of the building—that runs 640 feet from the north to the south side of the building.
Philadelphia Museum of ArtThis walkway will provide access to the new galleries through a long, vaulted arcade and will intersect with the new Forum directly below the Great Stair Hall, thus providing access to the entire building for visitors entering on this level. A new 299-seat auditorium equipped for lectures, performances, and public events, to be located underneath the northwest terrace of the main building and directly accessible from the new public entrance facing Kelly Drive. The adaptation of the center portion of the top floor of the U-shaped Museum building to create meeting and event spaces, and the replacement of the brick in the pediments with glass to provide dramatic views of the city and Fairmount Park. Source: Philadelphia Museum of Art

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