New York's Met Museum announces ambitious expansion plans

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has always been at the centre of the city’s cultural identity, drawing visitors from all over the world with a collection that has drawn envy and admiration from punters across North America and beyond.
Standing proudly along Fifth Avenue between East 80th and 84th streets, the museum has witnessed the identity of the city gradually change and has, to its credit, done its best to keep up.
Now, its willingness to look to the future has seen it unveil plans for what it calls a “blockbuster” expansion.
The project, which will see the Southwest Wing for its modern and contemporary art redeveloped, will be led by British architect Sir David Chipperfield, and could potentially include the adjacent galleries for art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Additional spaces are likely to be another part of the design, which could reach as much as 180,000 square feet.
Given the popularity of the Met’s current rooftop terrace, it’s probably no surprise that the design will also potentially feature more outdoor space.
The move is certainly a significant one for the museum, given that it already covers over two million square feet.
Last February also saw the museum issue $250 million in taxable 30-year bonds to address infrastructural needs. According to the New York Post, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners has already begun the process of making “holistic” consultations.
Reports suggest the plans will still require the green light from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, due to it containing landmark status.
Approval will have to be made on some of the interior developments, as well as those on the outside.
In terms of exterior alterations, the Met has already moved to ease concerns over its footprint in nearby Central Park, claiming the project will have no significant effect.
Such reassurances are likely to be welcomed by a number of New Yorkers, some of whom were upset about the neighbouring American Museum of Natural History’s expansion into Theodore Roosevelt Park.
But the Met seems determined to get the plans approved, with a spokeswoman telling the New York Post: “The footprint of the project in Central Park will be no larger than the current footprint. It is too early in the design process to give specifics, and the Met will obtain all necessary government approvals, including from Landmarks.”
All eyes will be on the authorities over the next few months, but it seems the Met is destined to embark on what will be an exciting new chapter in its already impressive history.