About the Project

Aerial view of the museum's campus, including a rendering of the new Gundlach Building, Great Lawn, and indoor Town Square covered by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann's Common Sky. Photo: Blake Dawson for Buffalo AKG Art Museum | Rendering courtesy of OMA

Driven to radically expand its accessibility and engagement with its local and global community and inspired by the world-class caliber of its collection, in November 2019, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery broke ground on the most significant campus expansion and development project in the museum’s 160-year history. Upon completion of construction, the museum will reopen as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum in June 2023.

Designed by OMA/Shohei Shigematsu and Executive Architect Cooper Robertson with substantial input from communities throughout Western New York and the museum’s leadership steered by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén, the new Buffalo AKG will comprise more than 50,000 square feet of state-of-the art exhibition space, five classrooms, an interior community gathering space, and more than half an acre of new public green space.

For more than a decade the Albright-Knox has explored the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. These enhancements are urgently needed to properly house the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary masterworks, mount rotating special exhibitions, and present a dynamic array of complementary educational programs. In 2014, the museum’s Board of Directors unanimously resolved to launch its ambitious campus development and expansion project.

This project is intimately tied to Buffalo’s 21st-century renaissance. The name of the project reflects the fact that this will be the third time the museum has grown in the course of its history, each time at intervals of approximately 60 years (in 1905 with its first permanent home and in 1962 with its last expansion). The name also represents the museum’s response to feedback from the community and its goal to take a 360-degree view of the museum’s growth that goes far beyond operational needs and embraces its unique position in the region and its potential to contribute to Western New York’s ongoing resurgence.

The project will more than double the number of works the museum can display at any given time, including adding state-of-the-art space for presenting special exhibitions. It will also radically enhance the visitor experience at the museum, creating more space for education, dining, and social activities, while better integrating the campus with the landscape of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park.

In June 2016, the museum announced its selection of the award-winning firm OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as its architectural design partner for the project. That same month, the AK360 Capital Campaign, the financial cornerstone of the project, took a giant leap forward with an unprecedented matching challenge made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Jeffrey Gundlach. In total, Gundlach has contributed $62.5 million to the campaign.


View of the new Gundlach Building from the Wilmers Building

View of the new Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building from Elmwood Avenue

View from Iroquois Drive of the new John J. Albright Bridge connecting the Wilmers Building (left) to the new Gundlach Building (right)

Common Sky, 2019, by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces, will cover the museum's new indoor Town Square in the Seymour H. Knox Building. © Studio Other Spaces

Sculpture Terrace and main staircase in the new Gundlach Building

View inside the new John J. Albright Bridge, which will connect the new Gundlach Building to the Wilmers Building

View of the Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers Building with restored historic staircase from Elmwood Avenue

The Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building is a new work of signature architecture that will add more than 30,000 square feet of space for the display of special exhibitions and the museum’s world-renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. The courtyard of the museum’s existing Seymour H. Knox Building, designed by Gordon Bunshaft and completed in 1962, will be covered with a new artwork by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces. This new Town Square will be the hub of the museum's community engagement activities and will be adjacent to the museum shop, the cafe, and five state-of-the-art classrooms. The entire Knox Building will be free of admission charges.

The new underground parking garage will be covered by the Great Lawn, more than half an acre of public parkland that abuts the Gundlach Building and the Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers Building, designed by E. B. Green and completed in 1905. The capital campaign to fund the construction of the Buffalo AKG is the largest such campaign for a cultural institution in the history of Western New York. The lead patron of the Buffalo AKG is financier Jeffrey Gundlach, who has given a total of $65 million to the capital campaign through a series of matching challenges.

In addition to adding to Buffalo’s remarkable architectural legacy, the museum will improve its campus by:
  • Building an underground parking structure and transforming the surface parking lot into a vibrant green landscape and gathering place, a green plaza
  • Opening a route through the museum from Elmwood Avenue to Olmsted’s Delaware Park, adding a new point of entry and exit on the east façade of the museum’s Seymour H. Knox Building
  • Covering the Seymour H. Knox Building’s open-air Sculpture Garden to create an indoor Town Square, a new space for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours
  • Creating a new education wing in the lower level of the Seymour H. Knox Building
  • Constructing a signature scenic bridge, the John J. Albright Bridge, that connects the new Gundlach Building with the Wilmers Building

In April 2019, the museum announced that artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, founding partners of Studio Other Spaces, proposed a breathtaking work of art to cover the indoor Town Square. Entitled Common sky, the design is inspired by the weather of Buffalo and the museum’s lush park surroundings. 

-->On November 4, 2019, the Albright-Knox's Elmwood Avenue campus closed for construction and on November 22, Albright-Knox leaders and elected officials broke ground on the project. Our construction partners include Gilbane Building Company, ARC Building Partners, and Cooper Robertson

Gilbane has completed mass excavation, concrete foundation work, and the steel frame for the new Gundlach Building and is now focusing on enclosures and interior work. Construction will only occur between the hours of 7 am and 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact us using our online form to ask questions or sign up to receive updates on the project.

The Buffalo AKG Art Museum is scheduled to open in the first half of 2023.

  • Project Partners

    Learn more about our architectural partner, OMA, and the project's construction manager, Gilbane.

  • Project History

    Trace the evolution of the museum's campus development project from 2012 to the present.

  • Make a Gift

    Your donation in any amount to our Capital Campaign makes a difference.