Albright-Knox Getting to Work on Master Plan

October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2012 at 7:23 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

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October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2012 at 7:23 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Albright-Knox Art Gallery has retained one of the top planning firms to work on a new master plan for its Delaware Park campus.

The gallery will partner with the international architecture, landscape, and interiors collaborative SnØhetta to develop the master plan, including how its campus may grow.

SnØhetta will work with gallery officials during the next few months to develop a comprehensive plan that will outline a vision for the future, addressing pressing short-term space needs and setting the course for long-term ambitions, which might possibly include an expansion.

"It has been an honor to have participated in imagining what the future could be for the Albright-Knox," said soon-to-be leaving gallery director Louis Grachos.

"With the extraordinarily talented firm of SnØhetta engaged in this significant process, I am quite certain that the vision and solutions will be inspired and inspiring."

Key among the issues is the gallery's need for additional exhibition space.

"Space needs are one of the most critical issues facing the gallery today," said Leslie Zemsky, Albright-Knox Art Gallery board of directors president.

"Our collection has grown significantly since our last expansion in 1962, and we urgently need to examine how our existing space is used to display, store, and conserve the collection, and to optimize our facilities to provide an enhanced experience for our visitors."

The SnØhetta team that will work with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery will be led by the firm's founding partner Craig Dykers, an award-winning architect. The additional team members working on the project are Director of Projects Alan Gordon, Director of Design Vanessa Kassabian, Project Manager Nick Anderson, Project Designer Laia Celma, Project Landscape Architect Maura Rockcastle, and Project Interior-Designer Anne-Rachel Schiffmann.

Gallery officials said SnØhetta will engage the expertise of brightspot strategy to collaborate on the project. Led by Director Elliot Felix, brightspot will develop a comprehensive strategy to address critical space programming needs at the gallery to create better visitor experiences and a more productive work environment. Felix will be assisted by Senior Strategist Amanda Kross and Strategist Yen Chiang.

"We need to explore what an expansion of our facilities might look like in the future," said Louis Ciminelli, an Albright-Knox board member and chair of its long range/space planning committee.

"Given the history of our iconic buildings, and their setting within the historic landscape of the Olmsted Park, we are pleased to be working with a team of architects that has a strong reputation for creating a fluid dialogue between landscape and architecture.

SnØhetta is an award-winning architecture, landscape, and interiors collaborative formed in Oslo, Norway, in 1989. In 2004, SnØhetta established an office in Manhattan.

The collaborative has executed acclaimed projects internationally, including the Oslo Opera House, Norway; the Wolfe Center for the Arts, Bowling Green, Ohio; the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; the redesign of Times Square, New York; and Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, Toronto, Canada.

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