Historic Districts Council Opposes Frick ExpansionBy Robin Pogrebin
October 9, 2014
The Historic Districts Council, which can influence the city’s decisions but has no official role, has come out in opposition to the Frick Collection’s planned expansion, the council announced on Wednesday.
The council’s public review committee — which examines proposals for work on landmark buildings that are to come before the Landmarks Preservation Commission — said in a statement that the proposed expansion “will destroy the design intent of Thomas Hastings’ residential composition and John Russell Pope’s graceful museum transformation.”
In a statement, the Frick said that the plan “will satisfy longstanding mission-driven core needs related to education, conservation, and visitor services,” adding that the plan “is the only way to achieve all the necessary improvements that could not be realized with our 1977 addition.”
The museum is planning a new six-story wing that will increase its exhibition space, open private upstairs rooms and create a new roof garden on East 70th Street. The addition would extend the building to the east — using space currently occupied by a gated garden that is closed to the public — connecting the museum to its art reference library on East 71st Street.
Calling the elimination of the garden “particularly troubling,” the council concluded that the project is “a myopic solution for expansion” and cautioned the Frick against “giving in to the mania for mindless growth that has afflicted so many other New York institutions.”