The Real Deal New York

MoMA to tear down American Folk Art Museum building

January 09, 2014 08:57AM

The Museum of Modern Art will raze the former home of the American Folk Art Museum at West 53rd Street to make way for its expansion project, despite a last-minute push by the architects to incorporate the folk art building into their plans rather than demolish it.

Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro told MoMA’s board of trustees Wednesday that the folk art building couldn’t be preserved without overhauling much of its interior and hurting the building’s architectural integrity.

“Our goal in very simple terms was to use this project to make a better museum,” MoMA director Glenn Lowry told the Wall Street Journal, “to ensure that we have the most welcoming and engaging and important museum possible.”

The MoMA expansion will connect to Hines’ planned 1,050-foot-tall Torre Verre. In October, the Jean Nouvel-designed project secured about $1 billion in financing, allowing it to move ahead after years of limbo.

Architect Elizabeth Diller told the newspaper that in trying to save the building, “you end up losing so much of it that in the end, the integrity is gone.”

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, who designed the folk art building, said in a statement to the newspaper that the decision was a “missed opportunity to find new life and purpose for a building that is meaningful to so many.” [WSJ]Hiten Samtani