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MoMA Expansion Scaled Back With Revised Timeline

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Two years after the Museum of Modern Art unveiled plans for its massive expansion (which included the controversial demolition of the much-beloved American Folk Art Museum building), it looks like some progress will finally be made. Construction will begin on the 50,000-square-foot expansion next month, but not without a few big changes.

According to the New York Times, some of the more controversial elements of Diller Scofidio + Renfro's initial plan for the museum—including the "Art Bay," a glassy entrance facing the street, and the public sculpture garden entrance on 54th Street—have been cut from the design, and the total price for the project has been adjusted to around $400 million. (However, DSR's plan still has yet to be completely finalized.)

The initial plan was not without its detractors: "MoMA wanted the corporate modernist look of its glassy skin to continue unbroken through its new buildings," said art critic Howard Halle when the plans were revealed, among many other criticisms of the design. That outcry has influenced this new plan for the additions: "We heard our critics," MoMA director Glenn Lowry told the Wall Street Journal.

The museum also revealed that construction on the expansion, which is set to begin in February, will be rolled out in three phases. The first one, which will include replacing the so-called "Bauhaus Stair" and opening up the east lobby in the museum's Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder Building, is due to begin next week; the second phase will include expanding the main lobby, revamping the gift shop, and doubling the height of the 53rd Street entrance; and the final phase will include the construction of new galleries on the former Folk Art Museum site, along with the new gallery that will be in Jean Nouvel's condo tower at 53 West 53rd Street.

"This is not a heroic 'Ta-da!'," Elizabeth Diller of DSR told the Times of the changes, which are intended to make the space more open and welcoming to visitors. "It's surgical, careful." The whole thing is due to be completed by 2020.
· MoMA Trims Back Some Features of Its Planned Renovation [NYT]
· Museum of Modern Art Unveils Revised Expansion Plans [WSJ]