Controversial expansion of the Frick Collection hits another road block

May 30, 2018

All renderings courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle and Selldorf Architects

The planned expansion of the Frick Collection is delayed again after the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided Tuesday to not vote on the project, following hours of public testimony. Dozens of neighborhood advocates, preservationists and museum goers attended the hearing to discuss the Beyer Blinder Belle and Selldorf Architects-designed expansion, which would include 60,000 square feet of repurposed space and 27,000 square feet of new construction.

The plan would expand the existing Upper East Side building’s second level, add two set-back stories above the music room and an addition behind the Frick Art Reference Library. According to Curbed NY, critics of the expansion said the additions would be too large and block the design of the existing library. Despite a presentation from head architect Annabelle Selldorf, no decision was made about whether to grant the $160 million project its certificate of appropriateness.

This setback is certainly not the first for the project. In 2014, the Frick Collection announced plans to expand with designs from Davis Brody Bond, but was shut down after preservationists and architects opposed the plan to fill the Russell Page Garden. The Frick tapped Selldorf Architects in 2016 to redesign an expansion that keeps the beloved garden. New renderings of the plan were revealed last month.

Frick Collection, expansion rendering

Frick Collection, expansion rendering

Slated to break ground in 2020, the project would repurpose a number of areas, create an education center and a 220-seat underground auditorium and renovate the lobby. It’s considered the first comprehensive upgrade to the Frick’s buildings since they first opened nearly 80 years ago. Construction is estimated to take two years.

Designed by Carrère and Hastings, the landmark the private home for Henry Clay Frick in 1914. Since becoming a public museum and adding a reference library in 1935, the collection has grown significantly in the past decades and is need of critical infrastructure upgrades, according to the museum.

Before any work can begin, LPC still needs to approve the project. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, who praised the proposal and called it “respectful and sensitive,” asked the Frick Collection to come back for a public meeting to discuss the project further.

The full updated presentation can be found here.

[Via Curbed NY]


All renderings courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle and Selldorf Architects

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