Leading architects have publicly denounced the Museum of Modern Art's recent decision to demolish the former American Folk Art Museum building.
An open letter to MoMA, written by the the non-profit Architectural League of New York, has been backed by leading architects Richard Meier, Thom Mayne, Steven Holl, Hugh Hardy and Robert A.M. Stern.
“The Museum of Modern Art—the first museum with a permanent curatorial department of architecture and design—should provide more information about why it considers it necessary to tear down this significant work of contemporary architecture,” the letter said.
“The public has a substantial and legitimate interest in this decision, and 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.”
Built on West 53rd St. in Manhattan in 2001, the American Folk Art Museum's former home was designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and once deemed "a Midtown icon" by the New York Times. It was a symbol of hope and patriotism after the 9/11 attacks. When the museum fell on hard times, it sold the building to the adjacent MoMA.
Now MoMA plans to demolish the building to make room for an expansion which will connect to an 82-story tower.