Renderings copyright Gehry Partners, LLP
From July 1 to September 1, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will host a special exhibition that details architect Frank Gehry’s master plan for the Museum’s renovation and expansion. Making a Classic Modern will include large-scale models, site plans, and renderings of the project, which will add more than 169,000 square feet of space, including 78,000 square feet of new galleries.
New public space known as the Forum will open up the museum, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will simplify wayfinding.
Gehry’s firm, which was selected for the project in 2006, began its design by studying the character of the building. “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,” Gehry said in a statement.
The new underground galleries will be lit in part by a skylight in the East Terrace.
Gehry and his team will make minimal changes to the iconic exterior, including a redesign of the plaza in front of the West Entrance, integration of skylights and sunken gardens into the East Terrace, and new stair enclosures on two sides of the building.
Long closed to visitors, the vaulted underground walkway will become a space for art and events.
The master plan has been designed in separate phases and will be implemented as funds become available. In November 2010, the museum broke ground on the 68,000-square-foot Gehry-designed art handling facility.
Lenfest Hall, one of the main entrance spaces to the museum, will undergo a significant renovation.