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MoMA to Demolish Neighbor Notable for Architectural Ambition

Just 12 years after it opened to critical acclaim, the American Folk Art Museum will be demolished by MoMA, its new owner. The irony of it being razed by an institution committed to preserving important pieces of modern design isn't lost on many.

Robin Pogrebin reports on the Museum of Modern Art's newly announced plans to demolish the acclaimed American Folk Art Museum. "In its place the adjacent Museum of Modern Art, which bought the building in 2011, will put up an expansion, which will connect to a new tower with floors for the Modern on the other side of the former museum. And the folk museum building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, will take a dubious place in history as having had one of the shortest lives of an architecturally ambitious project in Manhattan."

“It’s very rare that a building that recent comes down, especially a building that was such a major design and that got so much publicity when it opened for its design — mostly very positive,” said Andrew S. Dolkart, the director of Columbia University’s historic preservation program. “The building is so solid looking on the street, and then it becomes a disposable artifact. It’s unusual and it’s tragic because it’s a notable work of 21st century architecture by noteworthy architects who haven’t done that much work in the city, and it’s a beautiful work with the look of a handcrafted facade.”

"Ms. Tsien said she and Mr. Williams, her husband, wished the Modern had found a way to reuse what they designed and to realize its value," adds Pogrebin.

“It’s a building that kids study in architecture school,” she said. “They study it as a kind of precedent to understand how buildings are made and to understand the kind of space it is because it is a complex and interesting building in a very small site.”

"But, she added, 'it doesn’t seem to make sense to second-guess how they might have used it.'”

Full Story: 12-Year-Old Building at MoMA Is Doomed

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