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Frick Collection Nixes Controversial Expansion Plans

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Almost exactly one year after the Frick Collection revealed plans for a huge expansion, the museum has decided to abandon the renovation after fierce backlash from neighbors, architects, and preservationists. The Frick wanted to build a six-story addition designed by Davis Brody Bond atop a garden created in 1977 by landscape architect Russell Page. The New York Times reported that an anonymous official said they are going to start over, noting "it just became clear to us that it wasn't going to work," and the Frick issued a statement confirming the change of course. "After months of public dialogue and thoughtful consideration and weighing the potential for a protracted approval process against the Frick's pressing needs, the Board of Trustees has decided to approach the expansion plan in a way that avoids building on the garden site."

The plan really riled up the masses, and many were outraged that the museum would eliminate the garden. A coalition of artists and preservationist called Unite to Save the Frick argued that the museum promised the garden would be permanent 40 years ago—an issue that was first highlighted by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. Architecture critics, the Municipal Art Society, and former members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission all spoke out against the plans. The proposal had yet to go before the LPC.

The Frick maintains that it needs more exhibition space—the now nixed plan would have added 50 percent more space for temporary exhibitions and 24 percent more for permanent—but they're going to figure out how to do it some other way. Here's the rest of the statement:

The Frick remains committed to furthering its mission by attaining its goals, among them having additional space for the display of works of art, including galleries on the historic second floor of the mansion, dedicated classrooms for education programs, updated facilities for the care of our art and research collections, and better public access between the museum and the Frick Art Reference Library. We also plan to improve visitor amenities in general while offering equal access for visitors with disabilities. At the same time, preserving the unique residential character and intimate scale of the Frick will remain our top priority.

We are grateful to all of those who have supported the plan and understand that both they and those who have opposed it share a great deal of affection and respect for the institution. The Frick will immediately begin to develop a new plan that will help us satisfy our critical needs.· Frick Museum Abandons Contested Renovation Plan [NYT]
· Frick Collection Planning Huge Expansion on Upper East Side [Curbed]
· The Frick Collection coverage [Curbed]