The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s North Entrance Reopens

Editorial Staff Art

The redesigned north entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as viewed from Kelly Drive, in a rendering by Gehry Partners, LLP and KX-L. All photographs courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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.

Exterior view of the museum’s original north entrance, February 14, 1928. The museum opened to the public just over a month later, on March 26, 1928.

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.

Gehry Partners, LLP and KX-L, rendering of the vaulted walkway, now open to the public for the first time in over four decades, and replete with an espresso bar.

“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.”