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Folk Art Museum Designer Finally Speaks About Its Demolition

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Now that the scaffolding is up, there's no denying that the former American Folk Art Museum's time for demolition has arrived. Valiant attempts by architects, preservationists, and neighbors to save the 2001-built structure were in vain, as the Museum of Modern Art decided to raze the building due to a professed inability to incorporate it as-is into the museum's current expansion plans. Defined by its 63 copper-bronze panels, which will be dismantled and stored away, the museum inspired some critics and some defenders, but throughout the debate architect Tod Williams, one-half of partner duo Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, hasn't said a word. Until now. He just spoke to the Times, and here are five sad quotes about his ill-fated museum.

5) On impermanence and adaptive reuse: "Yes, all buildings one day will turn to dust, but this building could have been reused. ... Unfortunately, the imagination and the will were not there."

4) On the unusual space, and the possibility of incorporating it into MoMA's expansion plans: "It was absolutely quirky, but with imagination, those challenges can be overcome. There were many successful shows in the space."

3) On repurposing buildings: "People have lost limbs, but they still retain their heart and soul. ... There are many things that happen to us in life, but it makes us deeper and stronger. We get wrinkles, we lose hair. Our interiors become more rich with time and use."

2) On saving the facade versus the whole building: "We were focused on saving the building so we did not think of the facade as a separate piece."

1) On faith, the likes of which only preservationists could understand: "We held out hope, even when we knew there was very little hope, that the complete building could be saved."
· Architects Mourn Former Folk Art Museum Building [NYT]
· All American Folk Art Museum coverage [Curbed]