Folk Art Museum

The MOMA reconsiders its plan to demolish the building after a fierce opposition campaign.

The Museum of Modern Art’s plan to demolish the neighboring former American Folk Art Museum incited a fierce reaction, including a massive petition by designers to save the architecturally significant building, which opened in 2001. Crushed under the preservationist crusade, MoMA has left open the door of retaining the building. "We’re going to try to create the best building we can create," MoMA board chairman Jerry I. Speyer told the New York Times. "Whether we include Folk Art or not, as is, is an open question."

That question will be answered by the principals of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who will design the museum’s expansion onto the Folk Art Museum site. In a statement, the firm cited the Folk Art Museum’s architects, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, as "friends and admired colleagues," and suggested integrating the existing building’s interior and striking faceted bronze facade into an enlarged MoMA consisting of five buildings, including a Jean Nouvel-designed 82-story residential tower adjacent to the Folk Art Museum. Incidentally, the Folk Art Museum decamped from its Upper East Side building to Lincoln Square, across from the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-redesigned Lincoln Center.

Whether the Folk Art Museum building will persevere or become the stuff of legend remains to be seen, as the New York Times quotes an anonymous insider, “Everybody likes the building, but it’s hard to keep it — the floors don’t line up. If I showed you the plans, you would say, 'I don’t know how to do it.'"

We’re watching how the design community reacts to this latest revelation on the imperiled building—several prominent architects, including Richard Meier, Robert A.M. Stern, and Architizer A+ Award winner Steven Holl signed a protest letter submitted by the Architectural League of New York last month.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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