Media Update: Albright-Knox Campus Development and Expansion Project
Monday, September 18, 2017
Buffalo, NY – Following is a summary of recent and ongoing activity on AK360, the campus development and expansion project of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Summer 2017 and Ongoing
Beginning in early summer 2017, the Albright-Knox began refining its proposed AK360 concept. The museum is working closely with its team of professional consultants, public agencies, and community partners to review and adjust this initial concept, to make progress toward the first iteration of an architectural design.
In addition to collaborating with principal and design architect Shohei Shigematsu and his colleagues at OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the Albright-Knox is working with two well-established preservation consultants: Buffalo-based Preservation Studios (led by Tom Yots) and New York City–based PBDW Architects (led by Scott Duenow and Anne Holford-Smith). These consultants have significant experience in rehabilitating historic buildings for contemporary use while preserving their historic character and aesthetic integrity.
The Albright-Knox will work with the Buffalo Preservation Board, the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and other key stakeholders as it imagines the expanded museum’s program while honoring the legacy of the three master architects of the existing campus: Edward B. Green, Gordon Bunshaft, and Frederick Law Olmsted.
“We are proud to partner with OMA and our historic preservation consultants, Preservation Studios and PBDW Architects, to help us envision the next chapter in the Albright-Knox’s history,” said Janne Sirén, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. “Over the past 14 months we have raised more than $120 million in pledges for the AK360 project and are now in a position to make our community’s longstanding aspirations a reality.”
"As a continuation of our longtime involvement in historic preservation in the Western New York community, Preservation Studios is thrilled to assist in the AK360 project,” said Tom Yots, Founder of Preservation Studios. “Based on our extensive experience working with public agencies and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards on many projects with historic preservation components, we are advising the Albright-Knox team as the proposal moves from a concept toward a design, ensuring that the eventual proposal will sensitively address the historic resources on the site, including the Frederick Law Olmsted Park and the buildings by Edward B. Green and Gordon Bunshaft, while providing the critically needed expansion of gallery space."
“PBDW Architects is excited to be a part of the AK360 project, and we have been impressed with the sensitivity that the Albright-Knox and OMA teams have to preservation issues,” said Scott Duenow, Partner at PBDW. “We are offering our technical preservation expertise based on our experience designing and detailing the restoration and expansion of major landmarked buildings, including many in New York State.”
Refining the proposed concept will entail continued opportunities for public input, which has already significantly shaped the proposed concept. The Albright-Knox will soon announce the next set of public meetings and events. The concept refinement will inform how the design of the expansion will begin to take shape, allowing decisions to be made about the form, scale, and materials of the building.
AK360 Milestones to Date
For more than a decade, the Albright-Knox has been exploring the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. Enhancements are urgently needed so that the museum can properly and safely house its world-renowned and continually growing collection, mount rotating special exhibitions, and present a dynamic range of educational programs.
In October 2014, the Albright-Knox initiated an ongoing series of open meetings to solicit public input for its campus development project. The community’s strong advocacy for the preservation of green space and underground parking significantly affected the nascent AK360 plan and initial concept.
In June 2015, the Board of Directors unanimously resolved to initiate the ambitious campus development project named AK360.
In June 2016, the museum announced it had selected the New York office of the award-winning firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) as its architectural design partner. That same month, the AK360 Capital Campaign, the financial cornerstone of AK360, took a leap forward with an unprecedented matching challenge from Buffalo native Jeffrey Gundlach. From fall of 2014 through June of 2017, the Albright-Knox identified and evaluated a wide range of location and concept alternatives to determine how best to meet the museum's needs and fulfill its mission.
In June 2017, the museum shared the initial site concept for AK360, showing the proposed placement of two new volumes in Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park. The museum’s current footprint would not increase, but prime exhibition space would double to approximately 50,000 square feet and the museum would gain urgently needed functionality and operating facilities, such as new education spaces and a loading dock for artworks.