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Columbus Museum of Art Reveals Major Expansion Plans

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus Museum of Art Reveals Major Expansion Plans
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Representatives of The Columbus Museum of Art presented their conceptual expansion plans to the Columbus Downtown Commission this morning for review. The $37.6 million plans call for the addition of a new 50,000 square foot modern wing on the east side of the existing museum building as well as major renovations to the existing Ross Wing and main lobby areas. In addition to new gallery space, this project will add new meeting and event spaces.

“This is a defining moment for the Museum,” said Nannette Maciejunes, CMA’s Executive Director. “Moving forward with this project allows us to fulfill our promise to the community of continuing to create great art experiences for everyone. The Museum’s growth is a reflection of our community’s vision for the arts and culture in Columbus and the priority each of our donors places on supporting a thriving arts community.”

DesignGroup is the local architecture firm responsible for the design of the new Museum. The project’s design team lead is Michael Bongiorno, a talented designer who has authored several popular articles to ColumbusUnderground.com.

The new museum expansion is the third phase of a three part plan. The first phase saw the renovation of Beaton Hall, and the second phase included the renovation of the main museum building, which debuted in January 2011. Last summer, CMA also opened its new West Garden entryway designed as a drop-off point for schools and group tours.

Renderings of the new expansion provided by DesignGroup.

More information can be found online at www.columbusmuseum.org.

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  • geoyui

    awesome! great to CMA get a little love.

  • mbsteele

    Did design group create the visuals and video for the museum?

  • we created the sketches and the renderings. I believe brainstorm media did all the production. they did a fantastic job of visual storytelling.

  • leftovers

    Great news, but I wish they could put some of this $$ into expanded evening hours.

  • Cool deal. Thanks Michael.

  • stephentszuter

    Wonder what they will be doing with the sculpture that is there right now?

    And in the sketches, the roof and the next expansion piece are green, but the roof is brown right now… which is changing?


    Very excited to hear about this. Fantastic! :)

  • The existing roof will be upgraded to copper. The current roof is cheap painted metal siding. It’s gotta go. The upper part of the new addition will be entirely pre-patinated copper.

  • A roof top bar would awesome!

  • heresthecasey

    Shame on the CMA for eliminating the Russel Page garden when they own so much land they could expand on without harming anything.

  • geoyui

    @ Michael Bongiorno – hearing about the Russel Page garden, what other options were taken into consideration, and why were they turned down?

  • The original site plan called for moving the sculpture garden to the north side of the building (by Gay Street). The existing surface lot will go away and be replaced by the sculpture garden, revised entrance and dining are. Parking will be moved to a new shared garage to be built on Gay Street by the museum and CCAD. Not sure if that is still the plan-perhaps Michael Bongiorno can update on that, but that is what I recall from a presentation a year or so ago at The Columbus Foundation. Love that the museum is expanding in size and capability. Unfortunately, the plan looks like yet another unsympathetic appendage on an otherwise gorgeous classical building.

  • @geoyui: That’s a fair question and one that has been asked many times before by many others. In fact, numerous options were considered. Let me just say that I too love the original garden; I went on my first date/fell in love with my wife there. In some ways the decision was made during some of the preliminary 30,00ft master planning, with which I wasn’t involved. When I was hired I actually put the brakes on the decision for a while. The museum graciously indulged my prodding and my team and I set forth studying options. We really beat it up, in earnest. But when we looked at all the variables: programatic adjacencies, site infrastructure (both above and below ground), pedestrian an vehicular access, entry sequence, son on, we always ended up on Washington Avenue. So after me telling the museum I wasn’t convinced that the addition should be located along Washington Ave,I came back full circle, hat in hand, and essentially validated what they had already told me. In short, it was a decision our team lost sleep over and a decision that was not lightly made.

    The good news, and it is really good news, is that the new garden will be better. I am not just saying this to justify our ends and realize there is a certain level of subjectivity to “better.” However, when you see the garden plan that will come out soon you will seen that the spatial characteristics which defined the page garden (walled garden defined by pockets of tree canopies) will make define this garden. Art will still be the focus, with room to grow the outdoor collection. The additional benefit, however, is that in the new design a cafe opens directly onto the garden via a movable glass wall, it can be accessed from an expanded 2nd floor special event space, and there are a variety of space size and types for outdoor events.

    Little know fact: The Russell Page garden, was not actually designed by Russell Page. It’s true. Let’s just say it was a little salesmanship on the part of a former, former, former museum director. Well played, but it has caused the current administration some headaches, the evidence of which is in the thread of these post comments.

  • @Lisa Craig Morton: You should take up your concern with Columbus’ top, award-winning preservation architect who would politely, and backed by actual credentials as a Fellow in the American Institute for Architects for preservation, disagree with you as he has given this project three thumbs up. The addition was submitted to the rigors of the Department of Interior Standards for Historic Rehabilitation during design. We even shared it with the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin, and he thought it was briliiant.

  • geoyui

    @michael Bongiorno – I appreciate the response. I haven’t been to CMA in a while, so I certainly look forward to the new additions, and I can somewhat appreciate the research it takes to come to your decision. Are there renderings on the new garden/cafe entrance that can be shared?

    Also, I’ve tried to find information on legitimate Russell Page gardens with no luck. In the 2009 CMA annual report, it states “In the autumn, Garden Club hosted a party with Sessions Society to bid farewell to the original Russell Page Sculpture Garden, which will be displaced to make way for the new Museum wing.”

    Why would it be referenced as the “Original Russell Page Sculpture Garden” if it isn’t?

  • @geoyui: you know how it is, sometimes things just take on a life and momentum of their own. words, sayings, notions. people were used to calling it and knowing it as a russell page garden so everyone just keeps calling it that. I think it’s that simple.

  • masonfryday

    This is good news for Cbus.

  • A museum expansion is great news, and I personally love the modern design, sandwiched in between the existing museum building and the State Auto building on the other side of Washington.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    I know on previous threads we have discussed having a modern art museum. This is a great step forward, but i’m all for having an iconic building built along the scioto in-between the Rich and Main Street bridges.

  • Cbusbill

    So glad to finally see this become reality!! Was just there this weekend with the family…it was packed (didn’t hurt that Sunday had free admission). Kudos on the design, CMA!!

  • jpizzow

    I personally like the modern design. If anything, it makes the classical design stand out even more.

  • hdtvohio

    Is that Pam Halpert/Jenna Fischer sitting at the table in the last photo?

  • @jpizzow, you get the prize for the guy that “gets it.” That was the goal: create a serene, minimalist setting for an historic jewel.

  • geoyui

    From the looks of the rendering, it seems like they matched the tile colors of the new wing to the roof tiles of the old building, which helps bring them together.

  • scorpcmh

    Love it! Great job.

  • rory

    It’s a great addition. I like how the modernist form plays off the State Auto building too. As for the Russell Page garden I’m kind of glad someone finally decided to put it out of its misery. It used to have a reflecting pool that’s been graveled in. It lost its charm years ago when parties finally trumped design and became a parody of itself.

  • CMHflyer

    It’s great to see the third, and probably most prominent, phase of expansion for the CMA coming to fruition. Overall, I like the design of the addition. From the first rendering, it appears the design is meant to bring the interior of the museum to Broad St. with its large glass facade; almost like a giant lens peering into the art exhibitions on display. As others have mentioned, I also like how the expansion works well with the neighboring State Auto Building, as seen in the third rendering above.

  • @michael bongiorno I’m not questioning anyone’s credentials nor implying that I have any. Just politely disagreeing with the current trend of attaching unsympathetic contemporary appendages to classical forms, which is a practice that I personally find appalling. Would love to meet your award-winning architect who has three thumbs! Now THAT is impressive!

    I do think the expansion is great for the museum, it’s patrons and the city and like the idea of the relocated garden and indoor/outdoor dining space. I am just a purist when it comes to my preference for architectural forms.

  • CCAD will not be building a parking deck with the Museum at this point in time. In fact, we believe a parking deck on Gay street would be a negative element given the splendid new improvements to the Gay Street corridor that the City is funding. On the one hand, we are DELIGHTED to see our friends at the Museum move their plans forward, as Columbus has one of the smaller art museums in any comparable city – at least in Ohio. But we’ll have to keep working with the Museum folks, and other Discovery District neighbors like First Congregational Church, Columbus State, and State Auto for a good, long-term solution to urban parking here.

  • Hear hear @Denny!

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