For the love of architecture

Editorial Staff Opinion

Call it cultural vandalism: The case against the Museum of Modern Art’s plan to raze the former building of the American Folk Art Museum designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and completed in 2001.

“Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s new American Folk Art Museum…is not only New York’s greatest museum since Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim was completed in 1959, but nothing less than the city’s best work of architecture since then, period.”

House & Garden, 2001

“…the Museum of Modern Art has not yet offered a compelling justification for the cultural and environmental waste of destroying this much-admired, highly distinctive twelve-year-old building.”

in an open letter to the Museum of Modern Art, 2013

“Midtown and MoMA could both use more variety, serendipity and soul. The former folk art museum building, having all those things, isn’t an obstacle to progress but an opportunity.”

New York Times, 2013

“If a commercial developer were to tear down a small, idiosyncratic and beautifully wrought museum in order to put up a deluxe glass box, it would be attacked as a venal and philistine act. When a fellow museum does the same thing it’s even worse-it’s a form of betrayal.”

New York Magazine, 2013

“We have a very emotional relationship to the building but beyond that there’s a principle of what do you want the city to be. Is a city a series of differences that work together… or should it be in this state of uniformity?”

architect, quoted in The New Yorker, 2013

“The tragic turn of events on West 53rd Street is nothing less than impending cultural vandalism, made more odious because it will be carried out by a presumed institutional guardian of high culture and contemporary design.”

New York Review of Books, 2013