From a Dreamy Resort by Nicole Hollis to a Stellar Museum Renovation, Here Are AD’s Discoveries of the Month


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Art installation underway in the museum’s restored 1905 building.

Photo: Marco Cappelletti/Buffalo AKG Art Museum, OMA, 
Studio Other Spaces, and Cooper Robertson.

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, a lot of municipalities wanted the Bilbao effect,” says architect Shohei Shigematsu, referring to the cultural and economic impact that Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim outpost had on the Spanish city. “Now they want the Art Basel effect, more event-based engagement to the arts.” With this evolution in mind, Shigematsu, a New York partner at the international firm OMA, designs museums not only as hallowed exhibition spaces but as places to gather, learn, and celebrate.

His comprehensive update to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum offers a dynamic case in point. Debuted to the public on June 12, the project comprises a 118,000-square-foot expansion to the 161-year-old institution, formerly known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, as well as its restoration. The current campus dates to 1905, when architect Edward B. Green completed its Beaux Arts building. A modern edifice by Buffalo native Gordon Bunshaft followed in 1962. Over the decades, however, the museum’s programmatic needs outgrew these two structures, which Bunshaft linked with a walled-off courtyard while demolishing the historic staircase. “It was quite hermetic,” says the architect. “The museum looked elitist and closed, though the activity inside is the opposite.”

At the northwest end of the freshly landscaped grounds, Shigematsu’s three-story building (named for local patron Jeffrey E. Gundlach) alleviates this feeling with literal transparency. A cruciform volume of galleries totaling 26,600 square feet is draped in a veil of structural glazing, with an interior terrace around the perimeter of the second floor for events, displays of sculpture, and a coffee bar. On this level, too, is the John J. Albright Bridge, a nearly 300-foot-long sinuous walkway—enclosed in mirrored glass—that now weaves around existing oak trees to connect the new and original buildings. ADA-compliant, the elevated path is also art-handler-friendly, serving the entire museum through the addition’s one loading dock.

In the Gundlach building, art is the visual center. Rather than set the ticket desk in a traditional lobby, Shigematsu placed it off to the side so that visitors enter directly into a double-height gallery. Flexible exhibition spaces on each floor mirror the proportions of those in the 1905 building, accommodating art of all sizes from the museum’s vast holdings, which now include more than 500 works acquired since 2019. But nature also gets the spotlight. A viewing platform and a sky bridge offer unique perspectives of the grounds, which feature a new public lawn that covers the underground parking and neighbor Frederick Law Olmsted’s 350-acre Delaware Park.

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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