MoMA Begins Demolition of Folk Art Museum Building

April 14, 2014
Photo © Architectural Record

Say Goodbye. Monday was your last chance for an unobstructed view of the celebrated facade on the Manhattan building Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed for the American Folk Art Museum. The Museum of Modern Art, the building’s new owner, began erecting scaffolding in front of the structure in preparation to demolish it. Despite loud protests from the architecture world and an attempt by Diller Scofido + Renfro to adapt the building, MoMA is tearing down the former Folk Art museum to accommodate an expansion of its own facilities.

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On April 15, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien issued the statement below in response to the demolition beginning.

"Scaffolding has been erected in front of the former American Folk Art Museum building. We feel devastated.

This is a unique structure thoughtfully designed as a house for art. A building admired, visited, and studied by so many, will now be reduced to memory. We understand the façade will be put in storage but we worry it will never be seen again.

While the demolition is deeply painful to all of us who helped create it, our distress is of secondary importance to the civic, cultural, and sustainable issues the debate surrounding the building has raised. We remain deeply grateful to all who have protested this senseless and unnecessary act of destruction."

—Tod Williams and Billie Tsien


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