Yesterday the New York Times reported on MoMA's latest renovation plans, something that has not been on my radar for about two years, when they put their foot down on demolishing the Folk Art Museum. The most unfortunate news is that the most interesting – and public – components in Diller Scofidio + Renfro's schematic plans (the "Art Bay" and the public sculpture garden entrance) are gone:
This news should hardly come as a surprise to anybody following MoMA's latest renovation, which kicked off with the demolition of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects' 2001 American Folk Art Museum next door. Sure, DS+R tried to save that contemporary gem (and then explained to a packed house whey they couldn't), but with MoMA's concerns focused squarely on dealing with the hordes of ticketed museum-goers generated by, but not adequately addressed in the 2004 Yoshio Taniguchi expansion, there's just no room for publicly inviting gestures. In the case of the "Art Bay," MoMA director Glenn Lowry said, "It became clear that there was a better solution." The better solution is a gallery, still public and visible from the street, but only accessible from the MoMA lobby. The "Art Bay"'s literal connection of the museum to the sidewalk – what I see as a huge opportunity and very-New York thing – is gone, erased just as easily as it was put into the rendering.
Drawings of the latest DS+R plans via the New York Times: