Four months after it was announced that FXFOWLE would be designing a new, free-standing museum for the Statue of Liberty, principal architect Nicholas Garrison has revealed renderings of his vision for the site at today’s groundbreaking ceremony on Liberty Island. The $70 million project–which will be largely funded by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg–features an angular-shaped, 26,000-square-foot building constructed of glass, granite and concrete that was inspired by its waterfront location. It’ll sit across the circular plaza from the Statue and will “seemingly rise out of the ground,” according to Crain’s, thanks to its green roof that acts as an extension of the surrounding park.
A monumental staircase leads to the roof, which has a paved terrace to serve as a raised viewing platform and a grassy area planted with wildflowers that’s meant to function as a migratory bird habitat. The museum entrance will be halfway up the steps and open to a wide patio.
Both the steps and the roof are intended to double as “a natural grandstand for an event that could happen in the plaza,” according to Garrison. He also explained that his design is intentionally unobtrusive so as not to disrupt the surrounding landscape that was created in the 1980s or the view of the Statue as visitors exit the ferry.
Inside, exposed steel structures and controlled low lighting will create a home for interactive displays by ESI Design (the same firm responsible for the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island). Visitors will be greeted by a entrance mural of 50 star sculptures that represent the American Flag. The next three galleries will be a virtual flyover of the Statue’s interior; an exhibition of its history; and the Inspiration Gallery, which will house the original torch in a glass room that provides views of the new torch in the distance. “At that moment you’re back in full daylight, you come full circle and now you’re confronted with the original torch that sat on her arm for nearly 100 years and was removed in the 1986 centennial restoration,” Garrison told Crain’s.
Currently, the exhibition space is located in a small area within the Statue’s base, but as 6sqft previously reported, “because of its size and security concerns only about 20 percent of the 4.3 million annual visitors can access this museum.” The new facility will triple the museum space.
So far, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has raised $40 million of the $70 million total, with the fundraising effort spearheaded by von Furstenberg (her husband Barry Diller is behind the Pier 55 offshore park, and the couple were also large donors/fundraisers for the High Line). It’s slated to open in 2019.
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