Frank Gehry Talks PMA Expansion


Photo: Ron Tarver, for The Inquirer

Photo: Ron Tarver, for The Inquirer

  • The Inquirer’s Inga Saffron interviews Frank Gehry, the 85-year-old architect tapped—over a decade ago—to reconsider the design of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Starting Tuesday, the public can get a first-hand view of what’s in store for the iconic building with the exhibition of “Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.” Gehry defends his reworking of the iconic Rocky steps and reflects on the “transcendent” experience of atemporally collaborating with original architects Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele. “It’s an amazing experience,” he admits. “The DNA of this building is so powerful. . . . I’m ready to put this building up against [New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art] any day. The Met has these endless corridors. This is compact. [Trumbauer and Abele] created a very readable and understandable structure. Usually architects create a closed system, but in this case they built in the ability to play vertically and horizontally.” Considering that upwards of $350 million will have to be raised, the project is not expected to be complete until the museum’s centennial in 2028, but when it is, Gehry promises that it will “change Philadelphia.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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  1. NickFromGermantown

    The PMA steps look great. Do it!

  2. The steps are fine – we went to the presentation last night – but the main pediment of the central structure is to become a glass “sky box” for heavy donor’s to give parties . Disgusting IMHO.

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