For the first time in its ninety-one-year history, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Greek revival building on Fairmount is undergoing a substantial redesign, overseen by architect Frank Gehry and underway since 2004. Today, yet another milestone has been reached, with the reopening of the museum’s north entrance on Kelly Drive, which had been used as a loading dock and closed to the public since 1975. Also unveiled was a vaulted walkway, spruced up and illuminated with new LED light fixtures; a gift shop; an espresso bar; and a new classroom and art studio.
Slated for completion next fall, the “Core Project” portion of the Facilities Master Plan will add ninety-thousand square feet of public space to the museum, including twenty thousand square feet of gallery space for American and contemporary art.
“Developing and then implementing a master plan for a building of this size and complexity is both exhilarating and a bit humbling,” says the museum’s director and CEO Timothy Rub, “It requires, above all, patience and a steadfast vision of what is not simply possible, but also necessary.”