Special Exhibition Unveils New Master Plan Designed By Frank Gehry For The Renovation And Expansion Of The Philadelphia Museum Of Art
July 1 - September 1, 2014
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has unveiled the comprehensive plan that Frank Gehry has created for the renovation and expansion of its main building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers a first look at a design that renews one of Philadelphia’s greatest landmarks. The plan reorganizes and expands the building, adding more than 169,000 square feet of exhibition space. The project will ultimately transform the interior of one of the city’s most iconic buildings, enabling the Museum to display much more of its world-renowned collection.
After almost ninety years of use, the building is in need of substantial reorganization and expansion to meet future needs. Included in this exhibition are large-scale models, site plans, sections, and renderings that introduce visitors to the ways in which Frank Gehry and his creative team have addressed the challenges and opportunities of updating this historic facility. Architectural drawings and photographs enable visitors to explore the history of the building. The exhibition features works from the collections of Asian, American, and modern and contemporary art, largely acquired within the last decade. New galleries are among the most prominent features of Gehry’s plan.
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.
Adhering to the Museum’s call to preserve the architectural integrity of the building and make it more welcoming for visitors and easier to navigate, Gehry’s design focuses on such spaces as the Great Stair Hall and how visitors will enter and move through the building. The design also creates significant new space for the display of the Museum’s extensive holdings of art in galleries created both within the existing building and underneath the East Terrace, and for expanded educational activities.
Constance H. Williams, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “The Board of Trustees is delighted to share this Master Plan with the public. This vision representing our future is closely aligned with our strategic objectives to ensure that the Museum continues to serve our community and visitors from around the world.”
Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said: “Gehry’s carefully detailed design is the embodiment of creative stewardship. The approach that Frank and his staff took to solving this challenging program reflects a deep sympathy for one of Philadelphia’s most widely admired landmarks. The design was also informed by a sophisticated understanding of how this facility needs to be changed. It is an inspiring blueprint for the future of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All of this will be accomplished in a way that honors and preserves the fabric of the iconic building and will hardly be evident on the exterior.”
Frank Gehry said: “We began by studying the character of this wonderful building—its DNA. It is rare to have the bones of the existing building show you the way to expand it. From there, we used the significant assets that the original architects gave us to create a strong entry sequence and circulation pattern that connects the new galleries to the existing building in a way that makes the new galleries seem like they have always been there. My goal is to make the building feel like one coherent design statement.”
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 to make them as unobtrusive as possible.
By contrast, many significant alterations 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 design elements address access and circulation through 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 interior changes include:
- The renovation of the two principal public entrance spaces in the Museum: Lenfest Hall and the Great Stair Hall.
- The creation of a new public space, or Forum, immediately below the Great Stair Hall in the center of the U-shaped Museum building. The Forum will dramatically improve circulation on this floor and open up the east-west axis at the center of the building, enabling visitors to reach the new galleries and adjacent public spaces that Gehry Partners have proposed be built below the East Terrace.
- The relocation of a variety of back-office functions to add nearly 23,000 square feet of new gallery space within the existing building; the creation of a new 10,000-square-foot Learning Center; and the development of new visitor amenities, including a restaurant, café, and spaces for the Museum Store.
- The creation of 55,000 square feet of new space for the presentation of special exhibitions and works from the collection in galleries underneath the East Terrace. Ranging in height from 24 to 28 feet, with a vaulted ceiling supported on slender columns, these new galleries will be among the largest and most spacious in the entire Museum. Open in plan and filled with natural light, they will provide an ideal setting for the display of modern and contemporary art.
- The reopening of a public entrance on the north side of the Museum. Closed to the public for decades, this monumental arched entrance adjacent to Kelly Drive will be renovated to provide access to a grand vaulted corridor—part of the original design of the building—that runs 640 feet from the north to the south side of the building. This walkway will provide access to the new galleries through a long, vaulted arcade and will intersect with the Forum directly below the Great Stair Hall, thus providing access to the entire building for visitors entering on this level.
- A new, 299-seat auditorium equipped for lectures, performances, and public events, to be located underneath the northwest terrace of the main building and directly accessible from the new Kelly Drive entrance.
- The adaptation of the center portion of the top floor of the U-shaped Museum building to create meeting and event spaces, and the replacement of the brick in the pediments with glass to provide dramatic views of the city and Fairmount Park.
Gail Harrity, the Museum’s President and Chief Operating Officer, said: “Given the ambitious scope of the plan, it has been designed in separate phases that can be implemented as funds become available. This work must begin with—and be sustained by—an inspiring and persuasive vision of the future, recognizing that it will take years to implement the brilliant plan.”
Note to Editors:
- October 2006: The Museum announced its selection of Gehry Partners as architects to renovate and expand the neoclassical building on Fairmount. Work began on concept and schematic designs for the renovation and expansion.
- 2008: Following the death of director Anne d’Harnoncourt, work continued on the Master Plan.
- 2009: The Museum completed the exterior façade cleaning and repair of the 80-year-old structure, including the restoration of the blue-tiled roof and metalwork and window grilles by Tiffany Studios. In September, the Board of Trustees appointed Timothy Rub as the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer.
- November 2010: The Board of Trustees authorized Frank Gehry to proceed with design development for future phases to renovate and expand the galleries and other public spaces. The Museum broke ground for the enabling phase of the project: a new 68,000-square-foot Art Handling Facility designed by Gehry Partners, providing much-needed improvements to back-of-house areas for the care, storage, and movement of the works of art in the Museum’s collection.
- December 2013: The Board approved the design development for future phases of the Master Plan, beginning with a core project that will focus on the heart of the building, from Lenfest Hall at the West to the East Entrance, along with other key elements.
- July 1, 2014: The Museum will unveil the designs by Gehry Partners to realize the Master Plan.
Tuesday–Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.–8:45 p.m.
Architectural Fact Sheet
A comprehensive plan for the renewal and expansion of the historic Beaux-Arts home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Horace Trumbauer and Zantzinger, Borie, and Medary, 1918-28). This facilities master plan will address the important tasks of improving the Museum’s aging infrastructure, providing much-needed space for the display of collections and presentation of educational programs, and enhancing the visitor experience. Nearly all of the many changes proposed—some dramatic and others quite subtle—will be made within the building through modifications to the Museum’s plan, the creative adaptation of existing architectural features, and the restoration of spaces and building systems necessary for the stewardship of this civic landmark. Frank Gehry’s design will make the Museum far more welcoming and easy to navigate through dramatic improvements to the west entrance, the addition of a new entrance adjacent to Kelly Drive, the renovation of historic spaces and galleries within the building, and the addition of expansive new light-filled galleries for the presentation of special exhibitions and the Museum’s holdings of modern and contemporary art.
The Museum is prominently sited on a hill at the western end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The west entrance overlooks the Schuylkill River and Fairmount Park. The east entrance, featuring the so-called Rocky Steps, commands a view down the Parkway to City Hall.
Constance H. Williams, Chair, Board of Trustees
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer
Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer
Gehry Partners, LLP, Los AngelesFrank Gehry, Founder and Principal
2004: Completion of integrated Facilities Master Plan with Vitetta, Philadelphia
2006: Selection of Gehry Partners as architect for the Master Plan
2009: Completion of exterior envelope renovations, façade cleaning and roof repair with Vitetta
2012: Completion of the enabling phase of the project, a new 68,000-square-foot Art Handling Facility on the south side of the building
2013: Board approval for design development for all further phases of renovation and expansion of the Museum
2014: Presentation of the exhibition Making A Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, unveiling the first images of the Gehry Partners designs
The Facilities Master Plan will be implemented over several phases. The next phase to be realized will be the Core Project, which includes the renovation and expansion of the central pavilion of the Museum from the west entrance into Lenfest Hall through to the east entrance, comprehensive renewal and/or replacement of building systems, and the renovation of former entrance and adjacent public spaces on Level C. The Core Project will also provide for new retail space and a central forum gallery. Future phases will provide for the creation of new gallery spaces and event spaces and the creation of a new Education Center and auditorium.
Principal components of the Master Plan are:
- Removal of the back wall in Lenfest Hall (west entrance lobby) and removal of the auditorium beyond it to open a west-east axial view through the Museum and create a new multi-level Forum Gallery, conceived as a circulation hub and gathering place
- Reactivation of the magnificent doorway on the north side of the building (an original entrance to the Museum) and the 640-foot-long vaulted walkway that runs from it into the heart of the building, creating a north-south circulation axis that connects to the Forum Gallery. (Since the mid-1970s, the door and corridor were used for the loading dock until the completion of the new Art Handling Facility in 2012.)
- Proposed creation of 55,000 square feet of new gallery space (Level C Galleries) by excavating under the east terrace. Accessed from the Forum Gallery, the high-ceilinged Level C galleries (24 to 28 feet) will have a 300-foot-long central axis and will be daylit through a large oculus in the ceiling and the windows of pocket gardens built at the corners.
- Improvement of circulation and visitor orientation on Level A with the creation of23,000 square feet of new galleries and the relocation of the corridors to the perimeter, opening views to the outside
- Restoration of the clerestories that ring the Great Hall (east entrance lobby) to admit natural light, as originally intended, and to serve as circulation corridors for visitors
- Removal of parts of the back wall of the Level C and Level B walls below the Great Hall to create Forum space and open visitor routes from the east entrance to the Forum
- Proposed replacement of the brick in the east and west pediments with glass, to create spaces at the top of the building with views of the City skyline and the Schuykill River, Boathouse Row and Fairmount Park
- Replacement of bank-vault doors at the west entrance with a glass vestibule
- Reconfiguration of the driveway and parking lot at the west entrance with new landscape design by OLIN, Philadelphia
- Reconfiguration of driveway and planting areas at reactivated north entrance with new landscape design by OLIN
Among the principal design highlights are:
- New Forum Gallery space linking Lenfest Hall to vaulted walkway
- Curving, transparent stairs connecting the levels of the Forum Gallery
- Restored Guastavino tiled ceilings of the north-south vaulted walkway
- Reactivation of north lobby adjacent to Kelly Drive as a public entrance
Existing Main Building: 493,309 square feet
Expanded and Renovated Main Building: 662,330 square feet
Forum Gallery Level C : 45’ w x 100’ d
Forum Gallery Level A : 100’ w x 115’ d
Lenfest Hall : 70’ w x 50’ d
North Lobby : 40’ w x 80’ d
New Galleries, Level A: 23,000 square feet
New Galleries, Level C: 55,000 square feet
Learning Center: 10,000 square feet
Stone walls to match existing
Stone floors to match existing
Project Team, Gehry Partners
Frank Gehry, Principal
Brian Aamoth, Project Partner
Anand Devarajan, Design Partner
Gavin Langley, Project Manager
Bill Childers, Project Architect
Edwin Chan, Design Partner
Eun Sung Chang
Project Team, Olin
Laurie Olin, Principal
Yue Li, Partner
Project Team, Vitetta
Jim Bryan, Planner
|BIM CONSULTANT||Gehry Technologies Inc.
Sameer Kashyap, Project Director
|STRUCTURAL ENGINEER||Magnusson Klemenic Associates Inc.
Jay Taylor, Principal
|MEP ENGINEER||Altieri Sebor Wiebor LLC
Philip C. Steiner, Principal
|LIFE SAFETY/FIRE PROTECTION||Hughes Associates Inc.
Herve Descottes, Principal
B. Alex Miller
|DAYLIGHTING CONSULTANT||Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates|
|THEATER/AV CONSULTANT||Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Steve Friedlander, Principal
|CIVIL ENGINEER||Magnusson Klemenic Associates Inc.
Drew Gangnes, Principal
Rita M. Greene
|SPECIFICATION WRITER||CG Associates
|ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN ENGINEERING||Atelier Ten|
|WATERPROOFING CONSULTANT||Henshell & Buccellato, Consulting Architects|
|ACOUSTICAL ENGINEER||Cerami & Associates|
|IT/AV CONSULTANT||Shen Milsom & Wilke|
|SECURITY CONSULTANT||Ducibella, Venter & Santore|
|VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION CONSULTANT||Lerch Bates, Inc.|
|EXTERIOR ENCLOSURE CONSULTANT||Gordon H. Smith Corporation|
|URBAN DESIGN/TRAFFIC ENGINEER||Urban Strategies Inc/JZTI|
|HARDWARE CONSULTANT||Finish Hardware Technology|
|FOOD SERVICE||Post And Grossbard|
|HISTORIC PRESERVATION ARCHITECT||Kelly/Maiello Inc.|
|ART MOVEMENT CONSULTANT||Artex Fine Art Services|
|SITE SURVEY||Pennoni Associates Inc.|
|GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING||Haley & Aldrich|
|COST ESTIMATION CONSULTANT||AECOM|
About Frank Gehry
Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. In subsequent years, Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned over five decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. Hallmarks of Mr. Gehry’s work include a particular concern that people exist comfortably within the spaces that he creates, and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites and the budgets of his clients.
His work has earned Mr. Gehry several of the most significant awards in the architectural field. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1974, and his buildings have received over 100 national and regional A.I.A. awards. In 1977, Mr. Gehry was named recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1989, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, perhaps the premiere accolade of the field, honoring “significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” In 1992, he received the Wolf Prize in Art (Architecture) from the Wolf Foundation.
In the same year, he was named the recipient of the Praemium Imperiale Award by the Japan Art Association to “honor outstanding contributions to the development, popularization, and progress of the arts.” In 1994, he became the first recipient of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award for lifetime contribution to the arts. In 1998, Mr. Gehry received the National Medal of Arts, and he became the first recipient of the Friedrich Kiesler Prize. In 1999, Mr. Gehry received the Lotos Medal of Merit from the Lotos Club, and he received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. In 2000, Mr. Gehry received the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts. In 2002, Mr. Gehry received the Gold Medal for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Mr. Gehry was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1987, a trustee of the American Academy in Rome in 1989, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991. In 1994, he was bestowed with the title of Academician by the National Academy of Design. In 1998, he was named an Honorary Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts. In 2003, Mr. Gehry was inducted into the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and he was designated as a Companion to the Order of Canada. In 2005 Mr. Gehry received the Ordre National de Legion d’honneur Chevalier from the French Government. In 2006 he was a first year inductee into the California Hall of Fame. In 2008, Mr. Gehry received the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale. In 2010, Mr. Gehry received the John Singleton Copley Award from the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust, and he received the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art Award in New York. Mr. Gehry has received honorary doctoral degrees from Occidental College, Whittier College, the California College of Arts and Crafts, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the Rhode Island School of Design, the California Institute of Arts, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Otis Art Institute at the Parsons School of Design, the University of Toronto, the University of Southern California, Yale University, Harvard University, the University of Edinburgh, Case Western Reserve and Princeton University. Mr. Gehry has held teaching positions at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions including Harvard University, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Sci-Arc, University of Toronto, Columbia University, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and at Yale University where he still teaches today.
Notable projects include: Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum Expansion at the University of Minnesota; Nationale-Nederlanden Building in Prague; DZ Bank Building in Berlin; Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Maggie’s Centre, a cancer patient center in Dundee, Scotland; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois; Hotel Marques de Riscal in El Ciego, Spain; Transformation Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Ontario; Peter B. Lewis Science Library in Princeton, New Jersey; Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada; Ohr O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi; New Campus for New World Symphony in Miami, Florida; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower in New York City; Opus Residential Tower in Hong Kong; Signature Theatre in New York City; and House for the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana. Current projects include: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; LUMA Foundation in Arles, France; Divan Orchestra in Berlin; Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C.; King Street Development in Toronto, Ontario; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia; Q-MOCA in Quanzhou, China; and West Campus for Facebook in Menlo Park, California. Projects under construction are Puente de Vida Museum of Biodiversity in Panama; Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris, France and the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building for the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
About Gehry Partners
Gehry Partners, LLP
Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service architectural firm with extensive international experience in the design and construction of academic, museum, theater, performance, and commercial projects.
Founded in 1962 and located in Los Angeles, California, Gehry Partners currently has a staff of approximately 125 people. Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly by Frank Gehry. All of the broad resources of the firm and the extensive experience of the firm’s senior partners and staff are available to assist in the design effort and to carry this effort forward through technical development and construction administration.
At the heart of the firm’s approach to design is a method in which the client is brought fully into the design process as a member of the design team, making the design a true collaboration between architect and client. Gehry Partners begins work by conducting extensive meetings with the client, and when necessary with representatives of user groups, with community representatives, and with representatives of city and state governments, in order to determine and develop overall project goals and requirements. Programming options and site planning options are determined, developed and presented for review using both written analyses and physical models that permit clear understanding of all options as depicted within the larger context of the site area. Discussions regarding project schedule, project budget, and requirements for specialty consultants are conducted concurrently and continue as work proceeds.
After programming and site planning issues are resolved, the focus of work shifts to architectural design. The architectural design process is based on extensive physical modeling at multiple scales, in which both the functional and formal aspects of a project are explored in detail. Every possible design option is developed using physical models and presented to the client for review. Actual building materials and large-scale mock-ups are employed to promote detailed understanding of the design among all involved parties. As work proceeds, the physical models developed during the early stages of design become more fully refined and as necessary are documented using the computer program Digital Project, a highly advanced three-dimensional surface modeling program developed by Gehry Technologies for use in the architectural, engineering, and construction industry. Digital Project permits detailed surface area and quantity calculations during the design process, and allows Gehry Partners to provide accurate construction cost calculations and consistent cost control as work proceeds. As the design approaches final development, a thoroughly detailed Digital Project model is produced to serve as the primary source of project information during the bidding, fabrication, and construction stages, rationalizing and permitting close control of the construction process.
At any given time the partnership has as many as 25 projects in various stages of development from design through construction. These projects vary in size from the very large scale Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum to projects as small as the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi. We have trained our staff carefully, hiring many architects directly from school and keeping them with us as the core of our design and technical teams.
The work of Gehry Partners has been featured widely in national and international newspapers and magazines, and has been exhibited in major museums throughout the world. Notable projects include: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain; Vitra International Furniture Museum and Factory in Weil am Rhein, Germany; Chiat/Day Office Building in Venice, California; Vila Olimpica Retail and Commercial Complex in Barcelona, Spain; University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts in Toledo, Ohio; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum Expansion at the University of Minnesota; Vitra International Headquarters in Basel, Switzerland; EMR Communication and Technology Center in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany; Nationale-Nederlanden Building in Prague; Vontz Center for Molecular Studies at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio; Der Neue Zollhof, an office complex in Düsseldorf, Germany; Team Disneyland Administration Building in Anaheim, California; Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington; DZ Bank Building, a mixed-use building adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany; the Peter B. Lewis Campus of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Maggie’s Centre, a cancer patient care center in Dundee, Scotland; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California; Stata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge in Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois; Hotel Marques de Riscal in Elciego, Spain; Transformation Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Ontario; Peter B. Lewis Science Library in Princeton, New Jersey; Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada; Ohr O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi; New Campus for New World Symphony in Miami, Florida; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower in New York City; Opus Hong Kong Residential; Signature Theatre in New York City; and House for the Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana.Current projects include: Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; LUMA Foundation in Arles, France; Divan Orchestra in Berlin; Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C.; King Street Development in Toronto, Ontario; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia; Q-MOCA in Quanzhou, China; and West Campus for Facebook in Menlo Park, California. Projects under construction include the Puente de Vida Museum of Biodiversity in Panama; Foundation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris, France and the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building for the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
Gehry Partners, LLP
12541 Beatrice Street
Los Angeles, California 90066
Phone 310-482-3000 Fax 310-482-3006
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