North Wing Addition
North Wing Addition
Designed by architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, the 100,000-square-foot North Wing addition will include a new 26,000-square-foot contemporary art gallery building, as well as one of the world’s largest facilities for glassblowing demonstrations and live glass design sessions. The addition will dramatically enhance the visitor experience for the Museum’s growing domestic and international audiences. The $64 million project—fully funded before groundbreaking by major benefactor Corning Incorporated—is scheduled for completion in 2014. In the meantime, all of the Museum’s touring areas, exhibits, and activities are open.
The design of the contemporary art gallery is a square, minimalist white glass building containing soaring, daylight-filled galleries. The facade will be constructed with large, white glass panels that create a nearly seamless, softly reflective expanse. Inside, the gallery will feature a simple, white interior with massive curvilinear concrete walls. The building will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass.
“The minimal exterior of the gallery building promises a tranquil and illuminating experience inside,” said Phifer. “Visitors enter a light-filled, glass vitrine to view and appreciate works of art in glass.”
A sophisticated light-filtering system will use diffusing roof skylights, providing the majority of the lighting required to view the art. The daylighting sets a new standard for how contemporary works in glass are displayed. A 150-foot-long window wall along the north side of the building will provide views of a new one-acre campus green, unifying the indoor and outdoor experience.
The luminous all-glass gallery building will be juxtaposed against the black metal exterior of the adjacent historic glass factory ventilator building that will contain the new venue for the Museum’s signature live glassmaking presentations. The space, which can be entered through the new contemporary gallery, will accommodate 500 people through retractable banked seating, and will feature a gallery-level balcony running around the perimeter of the venue that offers 360-degree views of the glassmaking below.
Landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand Associates designed new outdoor %%gathering%% areas for the public, including a one-acre campus green that will provide views into the luminous new gallery and glassmaking spaces. Featuring a central lawn area, as well as large canopy trees, the space will feel like a calming and quiet outdoor room – an ideal spot for visitors or community members to relax or picnic, as well as a pleasant public space for Museum events.
The green will be defined by the 1951 Harrison & Abramowitz Corning Incorporated building on the north side and, on the south side, by the Museum’s 2001 Smith-Miller + Hawkinson façade and new North Wing designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners.
“For us, learning the way light and glass work together has been truly rewarding. Glass is performance art…from its fluidity to the way it scatters light in space. We are making spaces to put people in touch with the magic of glass,” Phifer said.
Other features of the expansion include:
- The transformation by architects Smith-Miller + Hawkinson of a theater space originally designed by the firm in 1999, into an additional live glassmaking venue (July 2012)
- A renovation of the Museum’s café, which opened in 2012, designed by HAIGH Architects in association with Hunt Engineers, Architects, Surveyors (April 2012)
- Relocated and improved parking for bus groups (July 2012)
- New education spaces (2014)
- New office and storage spaces (2014)
The design also improves circulation throughout the Museum, with the new North Wing linking three generations of glass architecture spanning 60 years. The campus currently features a collection of buildings designed by Harrison & Abramowitz (1951), Gunnar Birkerts (1980), Smith-Miller + Hawkinson (2001), and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (2001).