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Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition to reveal Frank Gehry’s renovation plan this summer
Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014 |

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will soon debut Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, an exhibition showcasing the first images of Frank Gehry's master plan to renovate the museum. The exhibition opens July 1.

After PMA selected Gehry Partners in 2006 to design the multi-phased plan for the landmark, the core phase focuses on reorganizing and expanding the building's interior, adding more than 169,000 square feet of space. The additional space will allow the Museum to display more of its collection.

On view at the Dorrance Galleries until September 1, the exhibition will also feature large-scale models, site plans, sections, and renderings.

Read more about it below.

East Terrace Aerial Mockup. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click above image to view slideshow
East Terrace Aerial Mockup. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"'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."

Overall section rendering. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click above image to view slideshow
Overall section rendering. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"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."

Level C Galleries Rendering Central. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click above image to view slideshow
Level C Galleries Rendering Central. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"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."

Forum Gallery. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Forum Gallery. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"Given the prominence of the Museum’s main building as a landmark, minimal changes have been proposed for the exterior by Gehry Partners and OLIN, the noted Philadelphia firm specializing in landscape architecture, planning, and urban design.

These 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."

Vaulted Walkway Rendering. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click above image to view slideshow
Vaulted Walkway Rendering. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"By 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. Other changes address access and circulation through the varying “ground” levels of the facility.

At present, visitors enter the Museum on the first floor through the East Entrance and the Great Stair Hall or on the slightly lower floor through the West Entrance and Lenfest Hall. The Gehry design will open new spaces to explore, such as the Forum and new galleries under the East Terrace."

Lenfest Hall. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click above image to view slideshow
Lenfest Hall. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"The Facilities Master Plan will be implemented over several phases. [Following the Core Project summarized above,] future phases will provide for the creation of new gallery spaces and event spaces and the creation of a new Education Center and auditorium."

Images courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Click the thumbnails below for more images.

West Terrace Aerial Mockup. Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia Museum of Art Rendered Plan. Image: OLIN


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