On April 4th 2018, the prestigious Frick Collection in New York announced a renovation and extension plan for 160 million dollars. Overseen by Selldorf Architects, the project should be done by 2020. The idea is to give visitors the possibility to explore more the former residence of Henry Clay Frick.
An ever-evolving building
Originally, the construction of the Frick Collection in 1914 was entrusted to Carrère and Hastings Architects firm. Very trendy in the early 20th century in New York, the firm aimed at building the private residency of Henry Clay Frick. Coming from an modest background, he made himself a name in the steel sector and became one of the main Art patrons of his time. At the age of 30 he was a millionaire. His New York residence runs alongside Central Park and underwent several changes over centuries, particularly in the 30s. Indeed, architect John Russell Pope then transformed the family house into a public museum by doubling the building’s size. In the 70s, the Frick Collection added two additional rooms in the basement to host new galleries as well as a reception hall at the east end of the residency. The 2020 expansion project entrusted to Annabelle Selldorf‘s firm still has to get the approval of the city of New York because it is part of the historic neighborhood of the Upper East Side.
New perspectives for the visitors
The Frick Collection’s renovation plans should open parts to the public that used to be inaccessible. As a result, the second floor rooms will be open to the public for the first time and will host part of the permanent collection. The renovations should increase the size of exhibition spaces by 30%. A 220 seats auditorium will also be added to the construction agenda. The current permanent collection galleries located in the former ground floor of the house will remain untouched. “Our proposed design is the result of an unwavering commitment to maintaining the intimate experience of viewing art at the Frick that is unique and special to so many” said architect Annabelle Selldorf. As a result, there will be few minimal changes to the outdoor aspect of the mansion as opposed to the indoor space which will be extended. The project also includes the renovation of the garden which is meant to become a central element of the institution.
An architect firm on the roll
Founded in 1988 in New York by Annabelle Sellforf, the architects firm aims at created spaces that combine modern sensitivity and long-term impact. The Art world is far from unknown to the company which has already worked with great actors from the sector. Art-Trope dedicated an article to the new gallery of international Art dealer David Zwirner in New York. In fact, the architect was already in charge of the renovation of the Neue Galerie in New York which, like the Frick Collection, was originally built by Carrère and Hastings. In France the firm made itself a name with the construction of the LUMA foundation in Arles. Among the ongoing projects with artistic institutions, we can mention the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego in the United States and the New York Swiss Institute which should open in June 2018. Unsurprisingly, the Frick Collection chose this firm to be in charge of the sensitive restoration of a historical monument of the city of New York.
Read our interviez with painter and Art-Trope Artist Josiane Pape here.