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—will open to the public on March 20, 2015. 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.

The design also improves circulation throughout the Museum, with the new North Wing linking three generations of glass architecture spanning 60 years. The ten-acre campus currently features a collection of buildings designed by Harrison & Abramowitz (1951), Gunnar Birkerts (1980), Smith-Miller + Hawkinson (2001), and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (2001).

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 (2015)
  • New office and storage spaces (2015)

In December 2013, the Museum received a $1.5 million Regional Economic Development Council Award from New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration to support the creation of a new international motorcoach entrance. The Museum will transform its current motorcoach entrance on the west side of the facility into an attractive 10,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor reception area for visitors who arrive via tour busses. The area will include new amenities and a dedicated entrance to the new glass demonstration space in the North Wing addition. Exterior signage, large-scale maps and regional wayfinding will orient visitors and encourage inter-regional travel throughout Upstate New York. 


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The new North Wing will provide a superlative visitor experience in a state-of-the-art, “energy smart” building. Natural lighting and sophisticated temperature and air quality controls will provide the ideal interior environment for preserving the Museum’s unparalleled collection of contemporary... more
Things are moving rapidly as the construction team continues to finalize the details on our new North Wing. If you live nearby, be sure to take a walk on Centerway, past the entrance to the Museum. You can see the glass panels being installed on the contemporary gallery building. Look at them... more
The installation in our new North Wing gallery building will be spectacular – the world’s largest space dedicated to the display of contemporary art and design in glass. The contemporary art galleries will feature more than 70 works from the Museum’s permanent collection, including recent... more
The roof on the new contemporary gallery building has reached the halfway point in its construction. More than 400 of the skylight glasses are installed, and the skylight is expected to be fully complete by the end of June. Top view of the North Wing construction from June 6, 2014 Roofing work... more
It’s amazing to see the progress taking place each week on this very active construction site. The roof of the gallery building is progressing nicely. The concrete beams are now all installed—the final beam was put into place this week—and the crew is preparing for skylight installation,... more
The facade of the contemporary gallery building will be made up of large white panels of glass, which are being manufactured by Thiele in Germany. In February, mock-ups of the panels were made in order to test final fabricated components. The goal of the mockup was to make sure the windload... more