The plans to expand the Upper East Side's famous Frick Collection have proven to be predictably unpopular since they were announced in June, with preservationist stalwarts like the Historic Districts Council, Landmark West, and the newly formed Unite to Save the Frick leading the charge, and archicritics like Justin Davidson and Michael Kimmelman piling on. And while there have been issues raised with the design of the addition and how it would integrate with the existing mansion, a hefty portion of the criticism so far has focused on the aspect of the plan that would remove a garden designed by landscape architect Russell Page in the '70s.
Originally the garden was supposed to be temporary, but the museum changed its plans during a landmark review in 1973 and announced that it would "[enable] the proposed garden to become a permanent feature instead of the interim garden." While that isn't a binding promise, it could count as a point against the expansion when it comes time for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to make a decision. Plus, more importantly, everybody just really likes the garden. "At human scale, the garden exemplifies the sort of minor miracles New York manages to shoehorn into small spaces," writes Kimmelman. Even prominent architect Robert A.M. Stern has weighed in, telling an interviewer, "Gardens are works of art. This one is in perfect condition by Russell Page, one of the pre-eminent garden designers of the 20th century, and it should be respected as such."
· Frick's Plan for Expansion Faces Fight Over Loss of Garden [NYT]
· That 'Temporary' Frick Garden -- It Was Created to Be Permanent [HuffPo]
· Unite to Save the Frick [official]
· The Frick Collection coverage [Curbed]