albright-knox selects OMA/shohei shigematsu for museum’s AK360 expansion
image by blake dawson
the new york branch of international firm OMA has been selected to expand and refurbish the historic campus of buffalo’s albright-knox art gallery. the museum’s board of directors chose OMA ahead of other established practices, including snøhetta, bjarke ingels group, wHY, and allied works architecture. forming the institution’s first expansion in more than half a century, the project — entitled ‘AK360′ — will both enlarge and enhance the albright-knox, enabling the institution to better serve its audience. the project will be led by OMA principal shohei shigematsu, director of OMA new york. the scheme is the firm’s first art museum in the united states.
as design architect, shigematsu will spend the next year in partnership with the museum and in consultation with the community to develop a strategic vision for the gallery. the $80 million USD project seeks to not only transform the site, but also enrich buffalo’s architectural legacy, bolstering the cultural and economic life of the entire region. ‘we are thrilled to be part of this project,’ says shohei shigematsu. ‘[it] will be important for many reasons including the convergence of historically significant architecture in buffalo, fostering a more intimate dialogue with the olmsted landscape setting, answering the need for new exhibition space to display the albright-knox’s renowned collection, and positioning the museum to take a leading role in the city’s broader resurgence.’
the gallery is located in buffalo, new york
image by mark dellas
‘our selection process sought creative approaches to the challenges of expanding and refurbishing the albright-knox,’ said 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.’
‘OMA and shohei shigematsu are fully committed to an organic design-development process that will unfold in partnership with the albright-knox and the broader western new york community,’ added director dr. janne sirén. ‘over the next year, we will work together to imagine a renewed albright-knox for the twenty-first century, one that includes state-of-the-art spaces for special exhibitions and the display of our world-renowned collection. educational and social environments will be at the front and center of our project. through our architectural vision we will aspire to set new standards for how a twenty-first century art museum can activate the transformative power of art and become a place of community engagement — a town green for all.’
the project’s design will be led by shohei shigematsu (center left)
image courtesy of the albright-knox art gallery
‘our project requires an architectural partner with extensive experience in a diversity of contexts,’ continued sirén. ‘shohei’s team brings a unique set of credentials in museum and environmental design. we could not have a better partner. I am grateful to our campus development committee and board of directors for their expert stewardship of the process that has led us to this historic moment and for their extraordinary dedication to this museum and this community.’
the albright-knox and OMA/shohei shigematsu will embark upon the next phase of the envisioning process in september 2016.