SELLDORF ARCHITECTS SELECTED TO DESIGN AN EXPANSION AND UPGRADE OF THE FRICK COLLECTION
October 20, 2016 (revised March 7, 2017)
The Frick Collection has announced that Selldorf Architects has been selected to design a major upgrade, enhancement, and expansion of the institution’s facilities. Originally housed primarily in the residence of Henry Clay Frick, the institution today encompasses a constellation of buildings, wings, and gardens that have been built over the course of the past century. Working in partnership with Frick leadership and staff, Selldorf Architects will develop a design plan that addresses the institution’s pressing needs to accommodate the growth of its collections and programs, upgrade its conservation and research facilities, create new galleries, and — for the first time — allow for dedicated spaces and classrooms for the Frick’s educational programs. The new and enhanced facilities will be created within the museum’s built footprint and designed to foster a more natural and seamless visitor flow throughout the Frick’s exhibition galleries, library, and public spaces.
The appointment of Selldorf Architects to work with the Frick on the development of this design plan is the culmination of a rigorous 18-month process, which considered twenty architects from around the world with expertise in restoration and expansion of both historic and contemporary buildings and cultural institutions. The New York–based firm, led by Annabelle Selldorf, distinguished itself throughout the process for its creativity, vision, and approach, which respects the institution’s core goal of amplifying opportunities for intimate engagement with great works of art while preserving the domestic scale and aesthetic of the original home and the gardens. The Frick’s Architectural and Long-Range-Planning Committee, chaired by Trustee Dr. James S. Reibel and including President Emerita Helen Clay Chace, great-granddaughter of the museum’s founder, Henry Clay Frick, was unanimous in its decision, which was ratified today by the full board. As a next step, the Frick and Selldorf Architects will develop conceptual designs for the project, with initial plans expected to be shared with the public in winter 2017–18.
“Annabelle Selldorf is a visionary who creates elegant designs that seamlessly integrate the historic with the modern,” said Ian Wardropper, Director of The Frick Collection. “The firm understands and appreciates the value of institutional mission and has clearly demonstrated in past projects — such as New York’s Neue Galerie and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown — how new designs can enrich, rather than overwhelm, already distinguished architectural spaces. Such an approach is essential to our project, which seeks to preserve the peaceful and contemplative experience that the Frick provides to its visitors. After a thorough and thoughtful selection process, we are thrilled to have found a partner so perfectly attuned to our institutional needs and who can work with us to preserve the residential scale and intimate character of the institution, which we value so deeply.”
Noted Margot Bogert, Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Frick Collection, “Throughout the selection process, Selldorf Architects demonstrated an innovative and sensitive approach to addressing the challenges inherent to this project and, more significantly, a deep respect for the characteristics and qualities that distinguish the Frick. We are looking forward to working with Selldorf Architects to create a comprehensive design plan that will enable us to better serve the public, scholars and students, as well as our staff.”
Founded in 1988, Selldorf Architects is internationally recognized for designing renovations and additions that honor a building’s original character and provide resources to better engage and serve contemporary audiences. The 65-person firm is known for creating public and private spaces that fuse contemporary sensibilities with enduring impact and for creating designs that enhance the experience of art. Past projects include the Neue Galerie in New York, which, like the Frick, was originally designed in 1914 by Carrère and Hastings; the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA; the John Hay Library at Brown University, Providence, RI; and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Annabelle Selldorf was the recipient of the 2014 American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award in Architecture and the 2016 American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Medal of Honor.
“We are honored to play a part in this critical moment of the Frick’s continued evolution,” said Annabelle Selldorf, Principal and lead designer at Selldorf Architects. “Success for the project will be a visitor experience that feels deeply familiar, authentic, and reassuring for those who know and love the Frick, and a welcoming and enchanting atmosphere for those visiting for the first time. We’re looking forward to working with the Frick to develop a gracious design befitting a great institution.”
In March 2017, Beyer Blinder Belle was selected to serve as the executive architect on the upgrade and expansion of the Frick’s facilities. The firm will provide technical support to help realize the design plan being developed by Selldorf Architects. Founded in 1968, Beyer Blinder Belle is acclaimed for revitalizing the facilities of some of America’s most iconic public buildings and cultural institutions. Possessing deep experience in restoration, the 185-person firm is known for adapting existing structures to improve their functionality and introducing new systems and technologies within a historic context. Past projects in New York City include The Met Breuer; South Street Seaport Museum; Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration; Grand Central Terminal; Empire State Building; and New York City Hall; as well as the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., among others.
“Both Beyer Blinder Belle and Selldorf Architects will bring to this project incredible insight, having successfully preserved the distinct character of numerous historic structures, as well as executing designs that maximize a building’s potential as a space for public engagement,” said Ian Wardropper. “Collaborating with Annabelle and her team, we are pleased to have identified an executive architect whose approach supports their design ethos and resonates with the core goals of the Frick’s expansion project. We look forward to our partnership with these two outstanding firms, both of whom share our commitment to honoring the qualities that make the Frick such a beloved institution.”
The Frick Collection Enters Into Next Phase of Planning for Upgrade and Expansion
March 25, 2016
The Frick Collection is entering into the next phase of planning for the upgrade and enhancement of its facility, which encompasses a constellation of buildings, wings, and additions constructed between 1914 and 2011. Following the withdrawal of the 2014 design proposal and a subsequent period of extensive study, Frick leadership has developed a new approach to upgrading and expanding its facilities that enhances opportunities for intimate engagement with great works of art and preserves the Frick’s gardens. As the next step in this process, the Frick is issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) to select architectural firms, which are being invited to submit their credentials based on their relevant experience and expertise. The institution is planning to announce a finalist later this year and will work together with the selected architect to further define the expansion program, with initial designs expected to be unveiled in 2017.
Home to one of the world’s leading collections of fine and decorative arts, The Frick Collection is noted for the contemplative atmosphere of its galleries, which were previously the principal rooms of the private residence of Henry Clay Frick. It also houses the Frick Art Reference Library, one of the top five art historical research centers in the world. Although its collections, attendance, and public programs have grown significantly over the past decades, the Frick’s facilities have not undergone a significant upgrade since the 1970s. Many of the Frick’s critical functions are currently constrained—from the presentation, care, and conservation of its collections, to education programs and basic visitor services—having been retrofitted into spaces in and adjacent to the former residence.
The project will include the creation of new exhibition, programming, and conservation spaces within the institution’s built footprint. It will open to the public—for the first time—new areas of the historic Frick home, reorganize and upgrade existing spaces in the Frick’s buildings, and renovate underground facilities. It will create a more natural flow for visitors throughout the buildings, while enhancing and upgrading the behind-the-scenes facilities to enable professional staff to work more efficiently and effectively. At the same time, the expansion will preserve the distinctively residential character and intimate scale of the house and its gardens, both those original to the residence and in more recent additions. Further details on the enhancement and expansion plan, including project design, square footage and project budget, will be determined with the architectural team that is selected.
Statement from Frick Collection Director Ian Wardropper on the Expansion Proposal
June 4, 2015
“One year ago, The Frick Collection announced its plans for a building expansion to address the institution’s longstanding programmatic needs and better serve a visiting public that has grown substantially over the years. To realize this vision, the plan involved building on a lot that included the viewing garden on East 70th Street by landscape architect Russell Page.
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 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.”
We will post the dates and venues of public meetings connected to the review process of our master plan here as soon as they become available. Please check back for more information.