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About the Project

Aerial view of the museum's campus with a rendering of the new north building in the upper left corner

For more than a decade the Albright-Knox has explored the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. These enhancements are urgently needed to properly house the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary masterworks, mount rotating special exhibitions, and present a dynamic array of complementary educational programs. In 2014, the museum’s Board of Directors unanimously resolved to launch its ambitious AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project.

AK360 is intimately tied to Buffalo’s twenty-first-century renaissance. The name of the project reflects the fact that this will be the third time the museum has grown in the course of its history, each time at intervals of approximately 60 years (in 1905 with its first permanent home and in 1962 with its last expansion). The name also represents the museum’s response to feedback from the community and its goal to take a 360-degree view of the museum’s growth that goes far beyond operational needs and embraces its unique position in the region and its potential to contribute to Western New York’s ongoing resurgence.

The project will more than double the number of works the museum can display at any given time, including adding state-of-the-art space for presenting special exhibitions. It will also radically enhance the visitor experience at the museum, creating more space for education, dining, and social activities, while better integrating the campus with the landscape of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park.

In June 2016, the museum announced its selection of the award-winning firm OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as its architectural design partner for the project. That same month, the AK360 Capital Campaign, the financial cornerstone of AK360, took a giant leap forward with an unprecedented matching challenge made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Jeffrey Gundlach.

What unfolded next is remarkable. Believing that the Albright-Knox and the City of Buffalo are worthy investments and catalyzed by a promise of $42.5 million from Mr. Gundlach if matching funds could be secured by Labor Day, foundations, government entities, corporations, and individuals from across the region rose to the occasion. In just 12 short weeks, the museum raised an unprecedented $103 million toward its goal. In late 2017, Mr. Gundlach announced a second challenge to build on the success of the first, matching all gifts received through the end of 2018, up to $10 million, dollar-for-dollar. In January 2019, the museum announced that it had met—and exceeded—this challenge.

In June 2018 the museum announced its plan to create a new work of signature architecture on the north end of the museum’s historic campus, which will add 30,000 square feet of space for displaying special exhibitions and the museum’s world-renowned art collection. The new building will also incorporate several visitor amenities and is envisioned to have a wraparound promenade that visually connects the interior of the building with the surrounding Frederick Law Olmsted landscape.

View of the north building from the 1905 Building

View of the north building from Elmwood Avenue

View of the north building from Iroquois Drive

Common sky, 2019, by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces. © Studio Other Spaces

View of a gallery space in the north building

AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project architectural overview

View inside the scenic bridge

View of the 1905 Building with restored Elmwood Stairs

In addition to adding to Buffalo’s remarkable architectural legacy, the museum aspires to improve its campus by:

  • Building an underground parking structure and transforming the surface parking lot into a vibrant green landscape and gathering place, a green plaza
  • Opening a route through the museum from Elmwood Avenue to Olmsted’s Delaware Park, adding a new point of entry and exit on the east façade of the museum’s 1962 Building
  • Covering the 1962 Building’s open-air Sculpture Garden to create an Indoor Town Square, a new space for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours
  • Creating a new education wing in the lower level of the 1962 Building
  • Constructing a signature scenic bridge that connects the new north building with the 1905 Building

In April 2019, the museum announced that artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, founding partners of Studio Other Spaces, have proposed a breathtaking work of art to cover the Indoor Town Square. Entitled Common sky, the design is inspired by the weather of Buffalo and the museum’s lush park surroundings. 

In addition, Design Development is now complete, with OMA having refined the design for the freestanding north building, consolidating gallery spaces to create a more compact and efficient footprint. Plans will become highly detailed during the Construction Documents phase, which is currently underway.

On November 4, 2019, the Albright-Knox's Elmwood Avenue campus closed for construction and on November 22, Albright-Knox leaders and elected officials broke ground on the project. Albright-Knox Northland, a new project space at 612 Northland Avenue, will open on January 17, 2020. The new Buffalo AKG Art Museum is expected to open in 2022 on the Elmwood Avenue campus.

  • A photograph of people sitting around a large square table with more people standing in the background

    AK360 Project Timeline

    Trace the evolution of the museum's campus development project from 2012 to the present.

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  • View of the north building from Elmwood Avenue

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