Hmmm, I was looking up an exhibit that looks cool so that I could link you over to it, and then I spied a picture of the redesigned Museum of Art and Design. I thought it was either (a) a really ugly building or (b) that I just wasn’t getting it, so I decided I’d do a blog post about it and see what you all thought. As I started digging around some more, I thought “how did I miss this???” In my defense, I live in Atlanta, but still! Turns out, the original building, built in 1964, was designed by Edward Durell Stone, and the new one has completely desecrated it. YIKES! How does a museum of design ruin a classic marble building in order to construct a structure that looks like an ugly plastic building blocks set? I just don’t get it. Can anyone help me see why anyone would do this? Is it uber-sustainable? Do the form and the facade fit into the context like a puzzle piece? Is the redesigned interior a million more times more stunning than the exterior? Does it spell out the world “Heil,” or is there an “EFH” which makes me think it’s E.F. Hutton’s headquarters?
It should be stated that one should not critique a building without experiencing it in person. There is no way to feel your own body in the space, truly understand the context of the site and the site itself without actually visiting. But one can tsk tsk a museum of design for not valuing an historic building, and sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. The redesign’s facade is fugly as hell, and my usually high regard for Manhattan’s dedication to preservation and for its architecture in general just went down a small notch. Oh well, at least it’s not a Trump building.
By the way, the upcoming exhibition called Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary looks really cool. It opens September 27.
Check out the transformation process here.
- photo 1 by David Heald via madmuseum.org.
- photo 2 by Eddie Hausner for The New York Times