The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has narrowed down its search for an architectural partner that will help the institution with its design for future expansion plans. Five finalists have been identified that will vie for the position. The position will help the AK to focus on the AK360 Campus Development Project, which will eventually lead to a new building/addition on the current campus. The five firms that are on the museum’s shortlist for preferred partners are Allied Works Architecture, Bjarke Ingels Group, OMA, Snøhetta, and wHY. Following is a description of each firm:
Allied Works Architecture is a 40-person firm led by Brad Cloepfil from offices in Portland, Oregon and New York. Guided by principles of craft and innovation, Allied Works creates designs that resonate with their specificity of place and purpose. The organization’s practice is grounded in the belief that architecture provides meaningful new insight into its surrounding physical and ideological landscapes. Using a research-based approach, Allied Works distills the elemental principles that drive each project and transforms them into material, shape, and structure–architectural designs that engage public imagination and amplify a city’s cultural legacy. Founded in 1994, Allied Works is widely recognized for its cultural projects, among them the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado, which has been acclaimed for its nuanced approach to light and space in showcasing the creative vision of a single artist. The firm’s prominent arts and educational projects also include the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; Seattle Art Museum; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in the Dallas Arts District; and the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is a New York and Copenhagen-based collective of architects, designers, and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. BIG is led by twelve partners and seventeen associates. With an international team of 300 people, BIG works on projects across a broad spectrum of industries and in more than twenty countries worldwide. Projects include a masterplan for the Smithsonian Institution South Campus in Washington, DC, and the recently opened Danish National Maritime Museum in Helsingør, Denmark. BIG takes a human centered approach to architecture—looking at how urban environments can increase the quality of life, and designing cities and buildings as double ecosystems that are both ecologically and economically profitable.
OMA is a leading international partnership practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. OMA’s buildings and masterplans around the world insist on intelligent forms while inventing new possibilities for content and everyday use. AMO, the firm’s research and design studio, works in areas beyond architecture that today have an increasing influence on architecture itself: media, politics, renewable energy, technology, publishing, and fashion. OMA New York, founded in 2001 to oversee OMA’s projects in the Americas from concept through construction, has overseen completion of Milstein Hall at Cornell University, Seattle Central Library, the IIT Campus Center in Chicago, and the Prada Epicenter in New York. The New York office will celebrate the completion of four cultural collaborations this year, including the Faena Forum in Miami Beach, the Quebec National Beaux Arts Museum in Quebec City, and two exhibition designs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Park Avenue Armory in New York. OMA New York’s engagements with urban conditions around the world include a new civic center in Bogotá, Columbia; a post-Hurricane Sandy urban water strategy; a food hub in Louisville, Kentucky; and an elevated park in Washington, DC.
Snøhetta values human interaction. All of the studio’s work strives to enhance our sense of place, identity, and relationship to others and the physical spaces we inhabit, whether natural or human-made. For more than twenty-five years, Snøhetta has designed and built award-winning cultural, civic, and institutional projects that strive to enhance the public realm. As an integrated architecture and landscape architecture practice, the firm works across a broad scale, from beehives and dollhouses to the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet and National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion. Current projects under construction include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Expansion in California, opening in May 2016, the Redesign of Times Square in New York, and the Lascaux Caves Museum in Montignac, France. Snøhetta is also a finalist to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
Based in Los Angeles and New York, wHY was founded by Kulapat Yantrasast in 2004 and has established itself in the international design vanguard for completing widely-acclaimed projects that serve the arts, communities, and the environment. The practice is structured as an “Ecology of Disciplines”—four workshops focusing on ideas, buildings, grounds and objects—to approach projects from multiple angles resulting in holistic, sustainable designs. Upcoming project openings in 2016 include the new Speed Art Museum in Louisville; SKY LANDING by Yoko Ono, phase two of wHY’s framework plan for re-designing Jackson Park in Chicago; Marciano Art Foundation, the adaptive reuse of a monumental Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles; and several private residences in the United States and Thailand.
“As the next phase in a project of generational significance for the Albright-Knox and Western New York, we seek an architectural partner to work closely with us over the coming year in developing plans for an expanded and refurbished museum,” noted AK Director Dr. Janne Sirén and Peggy Pierce Elfvin, Director of the Albright-Knox. A particularly important aspect of the project will be its sensitivity to our existing historic buildings and their setting in an iconic Olmsted park. The community has asked us to consider how an expanded museum can enhance the entire cultural district that surrounds us, and with that in mind our partner will engage in an active public dialogue during the design phase.” Mr. Robert G. Wilmers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of M&T Bank Corporation and Chairman of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Capital Campaign Committee, stated, “This is an exciting and most important project for the Gallery and, indeed, for the future of Western New York.”
Moving forward, the AK will be aiming at:
- Refurbishing the existing galleries
- Adding new space for the collection, special exhibitions, educational activities, and social interaction
- Enhance pedestrian access and circulation throughout the Albright-Knox campus
- Helping lay the groundwork for the cultural district now emerging along Elmwood Avenue
The AK is looking to become a cultural campus that is contiguous with Elmwood Avenue, Delaware Park and the rest of the galleries/campuses in nearby proximity. Sirén is interested in creating a vibrant campus that not only expands its physical presence, he is looking for connectivity that currently does not exist. He wants the campus to be a place that people feel welcome and want to spend time. Rather than a parking lot in front of the building, what should be there? What does the entranceway to the campus look like, and how does it act? How does the campus interact with its surroundings? These are the questions that will be addressed moving forward.