The Philadelphia Museum of Art to Unveil MAKING A CLASSIC MODERN: FRANK GEHRY'S MASTER PLAN FOR THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, Today
On July 1, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will 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 plan also reorganizes and expands the building, adding more than 169,000 square feet of space. Included in this exhibition, which will remain on view in the Dorrance Galleries until September 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, enabling the Museum to display much more of its world-renowned collection.
Making a Classic Modern will introduce visitors to the various ways in which Frank Gehry and his creative team have addressed the challenges and opportunities of updating this historic facility. The building is in need of substantial renovation, reorganization, and expansion to meet current and future needs.
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. Although he is best known for the expressive, sculptural forms of buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry has taken an approach to this project that is dramatically different and virtually unique.
Gehry'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.
Constance H. Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: "The Board of Trustees is delighted to share this Master Plan with our members and the public. This vision representing our future is closely aligned with our strategic objectives to ensure that the Museum continues to serve our community and attract visitors from across the region and around the world."
On view will be carefully detailed large-scale models, architectural drawings, photographs and videos that will enable visitors to explore the history of the building. The exhibition will also include works of art, many of which were acquired during the last decade, to demonstrate how this project can make it possible for the Museum to display much more of its collection. The new galleries are among the most prominent features of Gehry's plan.
Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said: "Gehry's considered and carefully detailed design is the embodiment of creative stewardship. The approach that Frank and his staff took to solving this challenging program reflects a deep sympathy for one of Philadelphia's best-known and most widely admired landmarks. The design was also informed by a sophisticated understanding of how this facility needs to be changed to continue to serve the needs of our visitors and our community. It is an inspiring blueprint for the future of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All of this will be accomplished in a way that honors and preserves the fabric of the iconic building and will hardly be evident on the exterior. To understand how this thoughtful design will change the Museum in profound ways, one needs, in essence, to look inside."
Frank Gehry said: "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. 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."