On January 28, 2014, The Architectural League, in partnership with the Municipal Art Society and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, presented a Conversation on the Museum of Modern Art’s Plan for Expansion.
The event created an opportunity for discussion of the museum’s expansion plan, which includes the demolition of the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) building. That decision has generated significant discussion and opposition since initially announced in April 2013, including calls from the League for the museum “to reconsider its decision to demolish the American Folk Art Museum” and to “provide more information about why it considers it necessary to tear down this significant work of contemporary architecture.”
At the January 28th program, the full video of which appears above, MoMA Director Glenn Lowry and the museum’s Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture Ann Temkin introduced the museum’s proposed project (starting at 08:27), followed by a presentation (21:34) of the plan by Elizabeth Diller, principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm selected to design the expansion.
A panel discussion following the presentations (55:49) then moved beyond the question of a single building or street to situate the implications of the museum’s plan within a broader context of citymaking. Cathleen McGuigan (Editor of Architectural Record), Jorge Otero-Pailos (architect and preservation theorist), Nicolai Ouroussoff (critic and writer), Stephen Rustow (principal of design firm Museoplan), and Karen Stein (architectural consultant and writer), in a discussion moderated by Reed Kroloff (Director of the Cranbrook Academy), debated the relative values and challenges of preservation, the significance of the plan for the streetscape of Midtown, the role and history of the Museum in the neighborhood, and the place for public input in decision-making over how our cities are developed.
Watch the full video above, and visit the League’s website for more on the American Folk Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.