After a long search for a candidate to provide Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery with a new extension, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), with its New York office lead partner Shohei Shigematsu, has been selected to expand and refurbish the site. The $80 million scheme – the largest ever initiated by a cultural organisation in western New York – will be the international firm's first art museum designed on US soil.
The project, titled AK360, will enlarge the Albright-Knox, enhancing the visitor experience and helping transform the gallery into a 21st century venue to benefit Buffalo's future generations. The expansion, which is the museum's first in over half a century, will be overseen by Shigematsu. The architect will spend the next year developing ideas with the community and board to formulate a vision for the site.
‘Our selection process sought creative approaches to the challenges of expanding and refurbishing the Albright-Knox,’ says the museum's board president, Tom Hyde. ‘At the top of our list, we were looking for genuine sensitivity to our historic buildings and Olmsted campus, which anchor the increasingly vibrant Elmwood Avenue Cultural District. OMA [and] Shohei Shigematsu have demonstrated their creative approaches to building in complex sites, most recently at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, which also connects parkland and urban landscape.’
The new extension is planned to include numerous state-of-the-art spaces, including a designated area for events, galleries for the display of the museum's world class collection and learning and social areas. The Albright-Knox and Shigematsu will embark upon the next phase of the process this September.