New renderings from Albright Knox raise concerns


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US Staff


Newsletter, Advocacy
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4.19.19 - Read Docomomo US Letter to the Buffalo Preservation Board


In 2017 the Albright Knox Art Gallery first announced plans for a major expansion. There was a swift backlash by Docomomo US and many others when the first renderings were released, showing a new structure being placed directly between the original 1905 Beaux Arts building and Gordon Bunshaft's highly praised 1962 addition. The plan was quickly scrapped, with the concession being that the museum would build a new, third building, elsewhere on the site, and enclose the open-air courtyard of the Bunshaft addition. 

This seemed to be an acceptable compromise, until troubling new renderings were released this week depicting an interior view of the proposed new "roof sculpture" for the courtyard. As described on the Albright Knox website: 

"Artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, founding partners of Studio Other Spaces, have proposed a breathtaking work of art to cover the Indoor Town Square, a new community space. Common sky, 2019, is inspired by the weather of Buffalo and the lush park surroundings designed by Frederick Law Olmsted."

A more detailed package of the plans was posted on the City of Buffalo's website prior to the April 18 Buffalo Preservation Board meeting.

The museum complex is a designated a city landmark and work must be approved by the Preservation Board. Additionally, the site is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and because the project is receive government funding it must also be approved by the New York State Historic Preservation Office.

How You Can Help

Docomomo US is urging the public to voice their concerns to the Buffalo Preservation Board. If you are local, you can attend the meeting, April 18th at 3:00 pm in City Hall. For those who aren't able to attend, we encourage you to send an email to the members of the preservation board

Docomomo US will continue to follow this story and share updates as they are available.