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The Corning Museum of Glass recently unveiled the preliminary design for an expansion that will create a new North Wing, featuring light-filled galleries for its collection of contemporary works in glass, as well as one of the world’s largest facilities for glassblowing demonstrations and live glass design sessions. Designed by architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, the 100,000-sq-ft expansion is expected to dramatically enhance the visitor experience for the museum’s growing domestic and international audiences. The $64 million project—fully funded before groundbreaking by major benefactor Corning Inc.—is scheduled for completion in 2014.
“We are the world’s leading art museum dedicated to glass,” said Karol Wight, executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “Over the past decade, we’ve experienced tremendous growth: in our collections, in our increasingly diverse audiences, and in the breadth and ambition of our public programs, especially those that allow visitors to experience the energy of artists and designers at work. This is a transformative design that responds to those demands and further enables us to bring glass to life for the 400,000 people who visit our campus each year.”
Phifer’s design creates 26,000 sq ft of gallery space specifically engineered to showcase the museum’s growing collections of large-scale contemporary works of art and design in glass. The new gallery building—which will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass—will feature filtered natural daylight using a sophisticated light-filtering system. The wing will also accommodate a new temporary exhibition gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary art and design.
In addition, the design includes an innovative renovation of the iconic ventilator building of the former Steuben Glass factory, which is adjacent to the museum’s current building. The renovation provides a new venue for the museum’s signature live glassmaking presentations. The new glassmaking space will accommodate 500 people through retractable banked seating, as well as a gallery-level balcony running around the perimeter of the venue and offering 360-degree views of the glassmaking below.
The new energy-smart hotshop will support daily demonstrations, guest artists and glass design sessions. Phifer’s design exposes the beauty of the historic ventilator structure by stripping the façade down to its lightweight frame and restoring the use of glass on both the north and south walls.
For additional information, visit www.cmog.org.