Last week, MoMA along with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro announced a controversial move to raze the American Folk Art Museum in the name of its expansion down 53rd Street. As expected from the protracted battle to save the 12-year-old folk art museum's bronze facade, people were mad. The Los Angeles Times spoke with Elizabeth Diller about how they arrived at their decision, how they feel about all the criticism being flung their way, and whether architecture should or could ever be "future-proof." Unsurprisingly, pro-folk art archicritic Michael Kimmelman called her answers "deeply unsatisfying." What say you?
6) On the one hand I think that it's a good sign that the architecture community is being cautious about the loss of buildings. We would be on the same side if we didn't know all the details that we know. On the other hand, I think that the press has been too fast to reduce the conversation to heroes and villains and martyrs, and to suggest that what MoMA is doing is necessarily bad.
5) I think the reason this [Folk Art] building was very difficult to transform into something else was its degree of idiosyncrasy. If we were to eliminate a lot of those idiosyncrasies, we could use it. But at a certain point it takes on another identity. The very people who are so emotional about the loss would be seeing a very, very compromised building, just to make it work.
4) MoMA gave us their word that if we had come to a decision to save the building and renovateeven if it were more expensivethey would accept our decision.
3) We tried very hard to make it work, to use the [Folk Art] space, to make the circulation work, to make the logistics work. And when that became so difficultwhen it passed the threshold of losing its identitywe proposed a different approach.
2) You do the best you can in the presentand in the near future that you can imagine. You try to future-proof the design. And if you design something in an idiosyncratic way, so that there's no other way to use it, you've made yourself vulnerable.
1) We will have more time. Hopefully we can stay on track with clarifying the vision, working together with the curators, and we'll have a lot of time to develop the scheme. Should we have published these images? I don't know. ... It's not finished. What we're doing is sharing a progress report. The only thing that was tied to a six-month time frame was the fate of the Folk Art building. So there were a couple of publishable images related to that last week. But we're working on a lot more.
· Elizabeth Diller defends MoMA plan to demolish Folk Art building [LAT]
· MoMA Unveils Its Glassy Redesign, Will Raze Folk Art Museum [Curbed]
· Archicritic: MoMA, Like Extell, Aims To 'Gobble Up Property' [Curbed]
· All American Folk Art Museum coverage [Curbed]