MoMA Redesign Will Raze Folk Art Museum


New York’s Museum of Modern Art announced today that, as part of an expansion, it will raze the Tod Williams Billie Tsien-designed American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) building, adjacent to its building at 11 W 53rd Street, despite protests from architects and preservationists. The AFAM opened in 2001. MoMA had previously announced that it would destroy the building but hesitated in the face of protest. MoMA today reaffirmed its decision. MoMA has approved initial details of a Diller Scofidio + Renfro scheme for a new building on the site.

Williams and Tsien were not available for comment.

The plans incorporate the AFAM site, at 45 W 53rd Street, and three floors of a residential tower being developed by the real estate firm Hines at 53 W 53rd St.

“The analysis that we undertook was lengthy and rigorous,” MoMA director Glenn Lowry said in a press statement, “and ultimately led us to the determination that creating a new building on the site of the former American Folk Art Museum is the only way to achieve a fully integrated campus.”

The expansion will add about 40,000 square feet of new galleries and public areas, providing 30 percent more space to display collections. The redesign will also allow for free access to the museum’s sculpture garden.