Within the late ’90s and early 2000s, numerous municipalities wished the Bilbao impact,” says architect Shohei Shigematsu, referring to the cultural and financial impression that Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim outpost had on the Spanish metropolis. “Now they need the Artwork Basel impact, extra event-based engagement to the humanities.” With this evolution in thoughts, Shigematsu, a New York associate on the worldwide agency OMA, designs museums not solely as hallowed exhibition areas however as locations to assemble, study, and have a good time.
His complete replace to the Buffalo AKG Artwork Museum gives a dynamic working example. Debuted to the general public on June 12, the challenge contains a 118,000-square-foot growth to the 161-year-old establishment, previously referred to as the Albright-Knox Artwork Gallery, in addition to its restoration. The present campus dates to 1905, when architect Edward B. Inexperienced accomplished its Beaux Arts constructing. A contemporary edifice by Buffalo native Gordon Bunshaft adopted in 1962. Over the many years, nevertheless, the museum’s programmatic wants outgrew these two buildings, which Bunshaft linked with a walled-off courtyard whereas demolishing the historic staircase. “It was fairly airtight,” says the architect. “The museum appeared elitist and closed, although the exercise inside is the alternative.”
On the northwest finish of the freshly landscaped grounds, Shigematsu’s three-story constructing (named for native patron Jeffrey E. Gundlach) alleviates this sense with literal transparency. A cruciform quantity of galleries totaling 26,600 sq. ft is draped in a veil of structural glazing, with an inside terrace across the perimeter of the second flooring for occasions, shows of sculpture, and a espresso bar. On this degree, too, is the John J. Albright Bridge, an almost 300-foot-long sinuous walkway—enclosed in mirrored glass—that now weaves round present oak timber to attach the brand new and unique buildings. ADA-compliant, the elevated path can be art-handler-friendly, serving the complete museum via the addition’s one loading dock.
Within the Gundlach constructing, artwork is the visible middle. Reasonably than set the ticket desk in a standard foyer, Shigematsu positioned it off to the aspect in order that guests enter instantly right into a double-height gallery. Versatile exhibition areas on every flooring mirror the proportions of these within the 1905 constructing, accommodating artwork of all sizes from the museum’s huge holdings, which now embrace greater than 500 works acquired since 2019. However nature additionally will get the highlight. A viewing platform and a sky bridge provide distinctive views of the grounds, which function a brand new public garden that covers the underground parking and neighbor Frederick Regulation Olmsted’s 350-acre Delaware Park.