AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project
The expanded museum, which will become the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, will include a new freestanding building on a park-like campus and enhanced programs to complement the economic and cultural renaissance Western New York has experienced in recent years.
Founded in 1862 as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery features a renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. The Albright-Knox has expanded twice before, with the initial construction of the museum in 1905 and a new wing added in 1962. AK360, the third expansion, will add more than 30,000 square feet of space for displaying special exhibitions and Albright-Knox's world-renowned art collection and for a reimagined education wing. Designed by OMA/Shohei Shigematsu, the new building will incorporate numerous visitor amenities and is envisioned to have a wraparound promenade that visually connects the interior of the building with the surrounding Frederick Law Olmsted landscape.
The $155 million expansion project plans to:
- Provide a larger space to exhibit the collection of masterworks, which has increased four-fold since the last expansion in 1962;
- Create premier facilities for special exhibitions;
- Enhance the visitor experience with new and better space for education, dining and special gatherings;
- Integrate the museum's campus within Frederick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park;
- Build an underground parking structure and transform the surface parking lot into a vibrant green landscape and gathering place;
- Open a route through the museum from Elmwood Avenue to Olmsted's Delaware Park, adding a new point of entry and exit on the east façade of the museum's 1962 Building;
- Cover the 1962 Building's open-air Sculpture Garden to create a new Indoor Town Square for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours;
- Create a new education wing in the lower level of the 1962 Building; and
- Construct a signature scenic bridge that connects the new building with the 1905 Building.
Albright-Knox launched the AK360 Project on October 1, 2014. From October 2014 to January 2015, the museum held a series of outreach sessions to ask AK Members and the public to share their ideas about the future of the museum.
On March 2, 2016, the museum announced its intention to select an architectural design partner for an expansion at its Elmwood Avenue campus. After an extensive review of proposals from dozens of world-class architects, the Albright-Knox selected the award-winning architectural firm OMA to expand and refurbish the museum’s historic campus. Throughout the process of developing the design, the Albright-Knox/OMA team has been in conversation with New York's State Historic Preservation Office, a committee of the Buffalo Preservation Board, and staff and board members of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. In addition, OMA worked with expert preservation consultants to ensure that the preservation of the existing historic buildings was considered as the initial concept design evolved into the new schematic design.
Albright-Knox has now entered a new phase in its AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project: the creation of a new work of signature architecture on the north side of our historic campus. Under the plan it has developed with the architecture firm OMA/Shohei Shigematsu, the new building will add 30,000 square feet of space for displaying special exhibitions and its world-renowned art collection.
The expansion of the renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery will attract even more visitors to the thriving Western New York region to enjoy this premier collection of modern and contemporary art. The AK360 project is supported by both public and private funds, including the single largest private donation to a cultural institution in Buffalo's history. Jeffrey Gundlach, a Buffalo native, has pledged a total of $52.5 million in matching funds to the museum. The project is also supported by a shared commitment of $18.3 million in state funding. Once completed, it is projected that AK360 will increase visitation by more than 30 percent - attracting at least 160,000 visitors per year. It is also estimated that the region could experience a sustained economic benefit of an additional $10 million per year as a result of the increased tourism.