Architect named to oversee dramatic change at Albright-Knox

Jun 7, 2016

With the appointment of an architect to oversee a massive redesign of its historic site, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery now must focus on the largest fund drive ever for Western New York.

The goal of $80 million would cover the cost of a large new building, renovation of all current space and a fund to help pay for use of the expanded facility.

"Building the Albright-Knox of tomorrow is an awesome responsibility for all of us, announced Gallery Director Janne Siren.

"We have reached a pivotal moment as we look to secure the Albright-Knox's extraordinary legacy for generations to come."

For the last few years, the gallery has been holding public meetings to talk about what to and where to do it. Eventually, the board committee decided on the plan on the current space and conducted an international search for an architectural firm to design what will happen. Chosen was the international firm OMA, led by Shohei Shigematsu.

"What's great about this museum is that you also have exterior space as a space to exhibit art and installations," said Shigematsu following Monday's announcement. His firm will  develop plans for both buildings and the Delaware Park landscape.
"I think that's also something that's becoming much more accepted to have art in exterior or maybe merged with landscape more."

Shigematsu says the gallery will spend at least the next six months working with the public on the final details of what will be in the 50,000 square foot new building.

OMA was chosen out of  five firms which submitted proposals for the Albright-Knox.

"OMA has a unique set of architectural experiences and they have worked in a great variety of historic, natural and urban contexts," Siren said.