With the kerfuffle over the demolition of the American Museum of Folk Art’s 53rd Street building a distant memory, its former next door neighbor, MoMA, is going full speed ahead with the expansion plans that necessitated the destruction of the edifice on which AFAM had pinned its hopes for playing in the museum big leagues. Now MoMA has released renderings of said project, which is designed by the architectural team of Diller + Scofidio, and judging from the drawings and the specs, it’s a doozy.
The new, improved MoMA will not only take up the former AFAM site, but also the first couple of floors of the adjacent, rapidly rising skyscraper designed by Jean Nouvel. In total, MoMA will grow from an already impressive 636,400 square feet to 744,000 square feet. The expansion will include new galleries and mixed-use spaces, a swank, marble-clad lounge just off the sculpture garden, a reconfigured lobby, plus a move for the bookstore from its current place near the 53rd entrance to the second floor.
Meanwhile, in the oldest part of the museum, the famed Bauhaus staircase, which currently runs from the second to third floors, will be extended all the way to the ground floor. Total price tag for the whole shebang? More than $400 million.
It’s no secret that over the last decade or so, MoMA has been engaged in a sort of expansion war with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. But given The Met's recent financial woes, it is a battle that MoMA clearly seems to be winning.