On June 26 and 27, the Albright-Knox invited the community to sign a white steel beam that would be placed atop the 30,000 square foot Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building, as part of a “topping out” ceremony. That ceremony was held today, as officials commemorated the occasion by hoisting the symbolic beam upwards, signaling the last beam to be affixed to the frame.
Sitting on top of the beam was a small evergreen tree – a nod to the building traditions of ancestral people (possibly Scandinavian, or Native American in origin). An American flag was also placed on top of the beam, acknowledging the patriotic nature of American ironworkers (learn more).
As for today’s ceremonial blessings as they pertain to Buffalo, today marked a new day for art in the region. Once complete, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum will be able to:
- House the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary masterworks
- Mount rotating special exhibitions
- Present a dynamic array of complementary educational programs
Along with the additional exhibit space and programming capabilities, the entranceway to the Gallery will take on an entirely new aesthetic. The parking lot will give way to a proper campus environment that will add energy and synergy to Elmwood Avenue, SUNY Buffalo State, Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park, the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, etc.
Two significant project milestones:
- In June 2016, the museum announced its selection of the award-winning firm OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as its architectural design partner for the project
- In April 2019, the museum announced that artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, founding partners of Studio Other Spaces, proposed a work of art to cover the Indoor Town Square
Of course this project would not have been possible without the generosity of the building’s namesake, Jeffrey E. Gundlach. In total, Gundlach has contributed $62.5 million to the campaign.
In addition to adding to Buffalo’s architectural legacy, the museum will improve its campus by:
- Building an underground parking structure and transforming the surface parking lot into a vibrant green landscape and gathering place, a green plaza
- Opening a route through the museum from Elmwood Avenue to Olmsted’s Delaware Park, adding a new point of entry and exit on the east façade of the museum’s Seymour H. Knox Building
- Covering the Seymour H. Knox Building’s open-air Sculpture Garden to create an Indoor Town Square, a new space for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours
- Creating a new education wing in the lower level of the Seymour H. Knox Building
- Constructing a signature scenic bridge, the John J. Albright Bridge, that connects the new Gundlach Building with the Wilmers Building
The future Buffalo AKG Art Museum will open in 2022.
For more information on our campus development and expansion project, please visit albrightknox.org/futurebuffaloakg.