June 18, 2018
Mr. Fred Bland
Landmarks Preservation Commission
The City Club of New York is pleased to support the application of the Frick Collection before the Landmarks Preservation Commission. We find the proposed design for expansion and new construction to be an elegant solution to the museum’s programmatic needs.
Many New Yorkers treasure this museum. We recognize it a jewel, and are wary of any change that might compromise the visitor experience. The proposed design promises to enhance the current functions of the Frick and does not seek to introduce new programmatic elements.
We especially note how the addition will enhance the library, providing space both for its renowned holdings and new library functions. The design promises to significantly improve the experience of library users.
While we approve of this thoughtful design in its massing, scale, and materials, we do have a few concerns.
In particular, we ask that the architects continue to refine the modernist connection between the two buildings in the expansion: it seems that the current design tries to use the window proportions in the Hope wing as a basis for what should be a hyphen in a different language, and this contradiction might be the reason this element does not feel quite right. While we are pleased that the garden is being preserved, there are questions about the greenery abutting the new addition. We trust that the addition built to the interior wall of this outdoor room will enhance and not detract from its verdant charm.
The interior is outside the scope of this application, but we take this opportunity to request that the design of the new public spaces be refined to feel more like the Frick. Yes, the entry must serve visitors, but the current iteration seems rather bland. Mr. Frick would surely demand more.
The only question before the Commission is whether this proposal is “appropriate.” We believe it is, but more than that, we believe that it will serve the needs of this museum for generations to come and still preserve the Frick we enjoy and respect.
Chair, Preservation Committee
The City Club of New York