Gehry-designed expansion of Philadelphia Museum of Art opens

A Frank Gehry-designed extension of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art has opened to the public.

Gehry was appointed to work on the museum’s "Core Project" in 2006, which includes renovated and newly created space within the museum’s main building.

The 90,000 sq ft extension has renovated the museum’s entrance, the Lenfest Hall, created the new public space in the Williams Forum and reopened the Vaulted Walkway, a 640ft corridor that has not been open to the public for nearly 50 years.

Some 20,000 sq ft of gallery space has been created from former restaurant and retail space.

Work on the project fully preserved the building’s "temple-like" 1928 exterior as well as the second and third floor’s features, such as the bronze statue of Diana and the European and Asian collections.

Gehry said: "The goal in all of our work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been to let the museum guide our hand. The brilliant architects who came before us created a strong and intelligent design that we have tried to respect, and in some cases accentuate. Our overarching goal has been to create spaces for art and for people."

Leslie Anne Miller, chair of the museum’s board, said: "This is an investment in Philadelphia. It is critically important not only for one of this city’s most significant cultural assets, but also for the future of the city.

"We recognise how significant the museum is as a destination for visitors to our city, and believe that the Core Project and the exhibitions and programs we present in the coming years will play a valuable role in encouraging the renewal and, ultimately, the growth of tourism."  

Images courtesy of Steve Hall © Hall + Merrick Photographers

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