WILLIAMSTOWN, MA.- The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute announced the selection of Selldorf Architects for the renovation of its original museum building. Led by founding principal Annabelle Selldorf, the firm will oversee the updating of the galleries housing the Clark's permanent collection which is renowned for its French Impressionist paintings as well as Italian and Northern Renaissance masterpieces; portraits and landscapes by European masters; and an extraordinary collection of silver, porcelain, and furniture. The collection is also rich in American paintings by Homer, Sargent, Remington, and Cassatt. Selldorf will create over 5,000 square feet of new galleries dedicated to American painting and decorative arts by transforming areas currently used as support spaces. Opened in 1955 to house the collection of Sterling and Francine Clark, the galleries have an intimate domestic scale with windows and views to the rural landscape of the Clark campus. The building was designed in a neo-classical style and has remained largely untouched since its opening.
"The 1955 building is one on the most beloved museum buildings in the United States because of its rural setting and domestic scale. We selected an architect who will help ensure that the renovation retains all the character and specialness of the building," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "With Selldorf's experience and sensitivity to historical buildings, we know we will get a seamless renovation that will harmoniously blend the old and new spaces."
The Clark's master plan, originally announced in 2003, focused on re-orientating the buildings on campus away from the street and toward the 140-acre campus of Stone Hill. Selldorf's design will incorporate a new entry to the west allowing visitors to once again enter the building on the long east/west axis. The building will connect to the new Exhibition, Visitor, and Conference Center being designed by Tadao Ando. Phase 2 of the master plan, which includes the renovation of the 1955 building, the new Ando-designed building and the renovation of the building currently housing the library and administrative offices, is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
Annabelle Selldorf was selected because of her extensive experience with both historical renovations and spaces for art. She is the architect of the Neue Galerie New York: Museum for German and Austrian Art, in Manhattan, which entailed the renovation of a 1914 private mansion into a public art museum. Selldorf will work closely on the Clark project with the existing team for the Clark's building expansion, which includes the landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand of Watertown, MA; the architect of record, Gensler, based in New York City; as well as Ando, from Osaka, Japan. The first phase of the Clark's master plan, Stone Hill Center, is under construction and scheduled to open in summer 2008. Designed by Ando, it will include new galleries, a meeting and studio art classroom, a terrace, an outdoor café, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.
About the Architect - Annabelle Selldorf is principal of Selldorf Architects based in New York City. Her work is recognized for balancing sensitivity to a building's history and location with contemporary design. In addition to the Neue Galerie, which opened in 2001, she has also designed numerous galleries, including Hauser & Wirth London, located in a landmarked 1923 building in Piccadilly, as well as the recently completed David Zwirner Gallery in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Selldorf was a finalist for the 2006 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Interior Design. Current projects include the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and new construction of a 19-story condominium building, both in New York City.