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Rendering of the Frick Collection from 70th Street. Image: Selldorf Architects. Click above for more images.

Frick Collection Unveils Expansion Design by Selldorf Architects

The Frick Collection in New York has revealed the design renderings of its latest expansion project. Led by Selldorf Architects, the project marks the first comprehensive upgrade to the Frick’s buildings since the institution opened to the public in 1935. For Frick director Ian Wardropper, the design “harmoniously integrates the historic with the new and addresses all areas of the institution.”

Expected to break ground in 2020, the project will repurpose approximately 60,000 square feet of the museum and will add 27,000 square feet, creating 30 percent more space for exhibitions. Highlights of the design include the creation of the Frick’s first-ever education center, a renovated lobby, new passageways providing improved access between the museum and the library, updated conservation laboratories, and a new second level that includes the Frick family’s former living quarters. Construction costs are estimated to be around $160 million. 

“Our proposed design is the result of an unwavering commitment to maintaining the intimate experience of viewing art at the Frick that is unique and special to so many—myself included,” said Annabelle Selldorf, principal and lead designer of Selldorf Architects. “With interstitial architectural interventions, we are able to provide clear and coherent new spaces with seamless connections that will allow the Frick to more thoroughly enact its mission in the twenty-first century.”

This is the institution’s fourth attempt at an expansion. It had introduced plans to grow its footprint in 2001, 2005, and 2008, but they were all shelved. According to the New York Times, the Frick will present the designs to around seventy-five community organizations and will need to earn approval from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission before it can move forward.

The Frick had previously come under fire for proposing a renovation that would have eliminated its gated garden—it scrapped the idea in 2015. Following the backlash, the museum now intends to make the beloved green space the heart of its new design. Visitors will soon be able to enjoy more views of the garden from within the museum. Garden designer and preservationist Lynden B. Miller was tapped to restore the space.

Expected to take two years to complete, the expansion project aims to preserve the unique character of the institution. The museum was originally designed by Carrère and Hastings in 1914 as a private home for Henry Clay Frick, who bequeathed the building along with his collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts to the public. More information about the Frick Collection’s expansion is available on the newly-created website The Frick Future

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