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The Frick Chooses Architect for its Expansion, Design Expected Next Winter

By Shaye Weaver | October 24, 2016 2:54pm
 The Frick is located on Fifth Avenue between East 70th and 71st streets.
The Frick is located on Fifth Avenue between East 70th and 71st streets.
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The Frick Collection

UPPER EAST SIDE — The architect behind a massive expansion project for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will lead an upcoming expansion of the Frick Collection on East 70th Street.

The Frick Collection's Board of Trustees tapped Selldorf Architects to design the rehab of the mansion museum, officials announced on Oct. 20, praising it for its creativity and understanding of the intimate character of the existing museum.

Selldorf was selected out of 20 architects from around the world, through an 18-month process, museum officials said.

"Annabelle Selldorf is a visionary who creates elegant designs that seamlessly integrate the historic with the modern,” said Ian Wardropper, the director of the Frick Collection. “The firm understands and appreciates the value of institutional mission and has clearly demonstrated in past projects, how new designs can enrich, rather than overwhelm, already distinguished architectural spaces."

Selldorf has worked on a number of public and private spaces, including the Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue, Brown University, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility in Brooklyn, and numerous galleries.

In 2014, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, California, selected Selldorf for its $75 million expansion, which will triple its gallery space by 2020.

Initial plans and conceptual designs for the Frick are expected to be shared with the public in the winter of 2017-18.

In March this year, the Frick announced it was scrapping a plan to build a six-story addition that would have called for the removal of its gated garden.

Instead, the new plan works within existing spaces, keeping the garden, by opening a suite of private rooms on the second floor that was used by the Frick family and had previously been closed to the public, according to a museum spokeswoman.

The Frick's goal is to create more space for educational and public programming, reconfigure and simplify how visitors circulate through the museum and the Frick Art Reference Library, and create state-of-the-art conservation spaces for the museum's art and research collections.

The plans will need approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission since it is in a landmark building. It was constructed in 1914 for steel industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family.

Since it was built, the Frick has undergone several renovations and expansions to make room for its growing collection, but it has not had a significant upgrade since the 1970s.