OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade

OMA’s Buffalo AKG Art Museum opens in New York

 

Soon to be open to the public, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum in New York, designed by OMA, seamlessly blends the tranquility of nature with the vibrant energy of urban life. Located at the northern edge of the historic Delaware Park, the museum comprises two interconnected historic buildings. The first is a solid, neo-classical structure from 1905, originally intended for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. The second is a Modernist extension from 1962, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, which added an auditorium box and an outdoor courtyard.

 

However, despite being located in the park, the two existing buildings, positioned side by side, hindered views and access to and from the city, as well as within the museum itself. Thus, the goal of the extension was twofold: to expand the complex to accommodate the museum’s growing art collection and diverse programs, and to reestablish a connection with the park and the city, fostering a sense of openness for public activities. Unlike the 1905 and 1962 buildings, which are somewhat closed off from their surroundings, the approach for the new pavilion was to fully embrace the potential of its park setting. 

 

Discover more of the firm’s previous works, with architectural designs that bridge historical elements with contemporary design, such as the glass blue box at Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store in NY or the spiraling galleries for Athens National Archaeological Museum, among others.

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
all images © Marco Cappelletti

 

 

inside Buffalo AKG Art Museum

 

The ground floor of the new Jeffrey E. Gundlach Building features cross-shaped galleries, symbolizing an addition to the existing structure. These galleries serve as the central hub of the building, while transparent corners housing the lobby, media gallery, office, and loading dock integrate the surrounding park and embrace the natural environment. The scale of the cross galleries reflects the rooms of the original 1905 structure, while two larger and more efficient gallery boxes, echoing Bunshaft’s iconic design, are positioned above. Additionally, a double-height gallery located at the front of the building connects the cross and flexible boxes.

 

Regarding Buffalo AKG Art Museum’s program, the architects commented,‘We had been observing how museums are evolving to provide diverse avenues of public engagement through expanded gallery activities and non-exhibition programs. We felt that museums now need to strike the right balance between programmed and programmable space, and must find new relationships between them. Our response was to wrap the second-level gallery with a promenade, an unprogrammed space for various activities—from sculpture exhibitions and galas to educational programs and wellness classes.’

 

The promenade and stack of functional galleries are welcomed by a transparent facade, creating an inviting and ethereal atmosphere. This veil acts as a double-height buffer zone, seamlessly connecting nature and art. The winter garden that emerges from this design allows visitors to immerse themselves in the park while showcasing the museum’s vibrant activities to the surrounding campus and city. OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade

 

 

The preservation and improvement of the existing campus are prioritized alongside the construction of the Gundlach Building. A new bridge, named the John J. Albright Bridge, connects the Gundlach Building to the Robert and Elisabeth Wilmers Building, creating a scenic pathway through the historic park landscape. ‘We bury the surface parking lot underground and place a large park lawn at the center of the campus and restore the historic steps of the Wilmers Building facing the lawn.’

 

The Seymour H. Knox Building, now known as the creativity center, is transformed into a community engagement and learning space. The original interior courtyard is enclosed by the monumental artwork Common Sky, created by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces, forming the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation Town Square. A new entrance on the east facade of the Knox Building establishes a connection between the city and the park. The new complex offers a range of programs and spatial experiences, encompassing classic, modern, and contemporary styles, with galleries, classrooms, intimate rooms, grand halls, and outdoor areas like the lawn, courtyard, and winter garden.

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
the Gundlach Building embraces its surroundings with its transparent design

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
a museum that embodies a campus-like atmosphere, integrating art, architecture, and nature

oma-buffalo-akg-art-museum-new-york-designboom-31800

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
a transparent facade that forms an inviting and ethereal atmosphere

OMA's buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
the interior is flooded with natural light, and views of the surrounding scene

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the museum welcomes the public under its transparent facade
the museum welcomes the public under its transparent facade
a double-height gallery located at the front of the building connects the cross and flexible boxes
a double-height gallery located at the front of the building connects the cross and flexible boxes
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 
OMA’s buffalo AKG art museum opens, inviting the public under its transparent facade
 

project info:

 

name: Buffalo AKG Art Museum

architects: OMA | @omanewyork

location: Buffalo, New York, USA

construction year: 2016 – ongoing

partner: Shohei Shigematsu

photography: Marco Cappelletti 

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