February 2, 2005
Three years after selecting Eric Owen
Moss to renovate its historic Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
building, The Queens Museum of Art is going back to the drawing
board. The former New York pavilion in the 1939 and 1964 Worlds
Fairs, the museum includes Robert Moses famous panorama-scale
model of the city. Mosss scheme, featuring a dramatic
drape of his signature rippling glass over a new atrium and
earthworks, was the December 2001 winner of the first national
design competition held by the New York City Department of
Design and Construction (DDC). Says Moss, It was a classic
case of new people coming in and wanting to own the project.
Current museum Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl and DDC
Comissioner David J. Burney both arrived in 2002. Says Finkelpearl,
We liked the basic design idea, the open gesture,
but after several redesigns addressing issues of circulation,
the location of services, the treatment of the Grand Central
Parkway-facing rear façade, and a tightened $27 million
budget, it wasnt gelling from a practical perspective.
Moss observes, The kinds of questions they were asking
suggested they were interested in doing something else.
I always felt an allegiance to the project, the [competition]
jury, sustaining the process, says Moss, They
decided to turn their back on all that and go to a back room.
The museum and the DDC will choose a new designer by March
of this year from a shortlist of mostly local firms, (including
Fox & Fowle, Polshek Partnership, Skidmore Owings &
Merril, Arquitectonica, 1100 Architects, Gluckman Mayner,
Amman & Whitney/Grimshaw Architects, and Rafael Viñoly),
who have standing contracts with New York City under the DDCs
Design Excellence Program. Were not giving up
on good design, says Finkelpearl, These are architects
who have done business with the city and know how to do it.
Thomas de Monchaux