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Metropolitan Museum of Art may delay its David Chipperfield-designed expansion

Budget concerns have led the museum to scale back its plans

Last summer, news emerged that the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s David Chipperfield-led expansion was being temporarily put on hold. Now the museum is making that decision somewhat more permanent. The New York Times has learned that the Met will not break ground on the planned new wing for at least seven years due to financial concerns.

Expected to be built at a cost of $600 million, this new southwest wing would have housed the museum’s modern and contemporary collection. Last March, the Met established a temporary home for its modern and contemporary art at the Whitney Museum’s old building on the Upper East Side. It was expected that the Met’s new wing would be built during the course of the eight-year lease the museum had signed at the Met Breuer building.

That will no longer be the case. Instead the museum has now decided to replace the skylights and the roofing system above the European paintings galleries. Work on that is expected to start sometime next year, and will take about four years to complete.

When questioned about financial concerns, the director of the Met, Thomas Campbell, would not tell The Times if the delay was due to any type of setbacks in fundraising efforts, and instead suggested that the expansion may get underway sometime during the course of the skylight project.

The financial concerns of the museum have been well documented in the recent past with the museum announcing last spring that it needed to address deficits with layoffs and restructuring. While the Met is experiencing problems, some of the other top museums in the city are forging ahead with their expansion plans.

On Wednesday, The American Museum of Natural History provided more details on its Studio Gang-designed Gilder Center, and last fall the Frick Collection announced that it had tapped Selldorf Architects to lead its highly-anticipated expansion.