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Media Update: Albright-Knox Campus Development and Expansion Project

Friday, November 10, 2017

Buffalo, NY, November 10, 2017 – Following is a summary of recent activity on AK360, the campus development and expansion project of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

Volume Placement

On November 9, the Board of Directors approved a proposal presented by the Chair of the museum’s AK360 Project Development Committee, Mr. Michael Joseph, recommending the re-examination of an expansion concept for the location of a new volume on the museum’s Elmwood Avenue campus, intended primarily to house new, flexible, state-of-the-art exhibition space.

In June 2017, at a public meeting, the museum showed an initial site concept, proposing to place a new volume at a central location between the 1905 Edward B. Green building and the 1962 Gordon Bunshaft addition. In the months following, Albright-Knox leaders have continued to study the concept with design architect Shohei Shigematsu and his colleagues at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and with historic preservation consultants Preservation Studios (led by Tom Yots) and PBDW Architects (led by Scott Duenow and Anne Holford-Smith).

The museum continues to believe that the initial concept provides an excellent operating solution for the future Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum. Based on feedback received on the initial concept, as well as the museum’s ongoing endeavor to define an optimal solution, the museum and its development team will re-examine an expansion option on the north and northwest side of the campus connected to the 1905 Building to determine whether this could meet the museum’s needs, while also minimizing impacts on the Albright-Knox’s historic buildings.

Michael Joseph, Chair of the AK360 Project Committee, said, “We are committed to identifying a solution that will enable the museum to flourish through the elegant convergence of historic and new architecture. Shohei and his team are great partners, and together we will arrive at an inspiring design solution befitting Buffalo’s 21st-century resurgence.”

Both options now being explored have the goal of doubling the museum’s prime exhibition space to approximately 50,000 square feet while adding urgently needed functionality and facilities, such as new education spaces and a loading dock for artworks. In either option, the new volume would connect directly to the main exhibition space in the 1905 Building, which is a key design criterion.

Janne Sirén, the museum’s Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director, said, “Good design emerges through an iterative process, which sometimes includes reconsidering aspects of previous ideas while also introducing new possibilities that may be worth developing. By choosing to re-examine a second concept for volume placement, we will enrich our decision-making and ensure the best outcome as we continue to advance the AK360 Project. We seek an optimal solution, one that will give Buffalo the expansive, inclusive, and architecturally inspiring museum the community has told us it wants.”

The Albright-Knox expects to continue its strong record of engagement with the public as the project moves forward.

Previous AK360 Milestones

For more than a decade, the Albright-Knox has been exploring the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. Enhancements are urgently needed so that the museum can properly and safely house its world-renowned and continually growing collection, mount rotating special exhibitions, and present a dynamic range of educational programs.

In October 2014, the Albright-Knox initiated an ongoing series of open meetings to solicit public input for its campus development project. The community’s strong advocacy for the preservation of green space and underground parking significantly affected the nascent AK360 plan and initial concept.

In June 2015, the Board of Directors unanimously resolved to initiate the ambitious campus development project named AK360.

In June 2016, the museum announced it had selected the New York office of the award-winning firm OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) as its architectural design partner. That same month, the AK360 Capital Campaign, the financial cornerstone of AK360, took a leap forward with an unprecedented matching challenge from Buffalo native Jeffrey Gundlach.

From fall of 2014 through June of 2017, the Albright-Knox identified and evaluated a wide range of location and concept alternatives to determine how best to meet the museum’s needs and fulfill its mission.

Since mid-2016, the Albright-Knox has raised more than $122 million in pledges for the AK360 project in a remarkable outpouring of private and public support. 

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