MoMA Begins Folk Art Demolition

John Hill
Published on
Apr 21, 2014

Photo: John Hill/World-Architects 
Photo: John Hill/World-Architects Photos: John Hill/World-Architects 
On Monday, April 14, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) began the demolition of the old American Folk Art Museum building designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. MoMA announced its intention one year ago to tear down the building to make way for its latest expansion, part of which will occupy the lower floors of Jean Nouvel's neighboring Tower Verre project not yet under construction. That news was followed by the promise two months later that Diller Scofidio + Renfro would try to retain the building after MoMA hired them for the expansion. But when they released their conceptual design in January of this year, DS+R's determination was that the building could not be adequate reused and therefore saved. In February MoMA said it would preserve the facade's 63 copper-bronze panels, but its plan for them outside of storing them is not clear.

While it took close to a year for the above to transpire, it was only about ten days between MoMA filing for a demolition permit and erecting the sidewalk shed and scaffolding around the building for the facade removal and building demolition. On Friday of last week the facade was still visible about the sidewalk shed, as these photos show, but by the time you read these words the whole front will probably be covered, never to be seen again in its entirety again.