Corning Museum of Glass unveils final design of its North Wing Expansion

Corning Museum’s North Wing Expansion design features innovative glass in a 150-foot window wall, creating light-filled galleries. The expansion will open to the public in late 2014.

The Corning Museum of Glass has unveiled the final design of its North Wing expansion, which is slated to open in late 2014.
Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, the addition will include a new 26,000-square-foot contemporary art gallery building, as well as a new 500-seat glassmaking demonstration venue in the renovated facility of the former Steuben Glass factory ventilator building, adjacent to the Museum.
The design of the contemporary art gallery is a square, minimalist white glass building containing soaring, daylight-filled galleries. The façade will be constructed with large, white glass panels that create a nearly seamless, softly reflective expanse. Inside, the gallery will feature a simple, white interior with massive curvilinear concrete walls. The building will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass.
“The minimal exterior of the gallery building promises a tranquil and illuminating experience inside,” said Phifer. “Visitors enter a light-filled, glass vitrine to view and appreciate works of art in glass.”
A sophisticated light-filtering system will use diffusing roof skylights, providing the majority of the lighting required to view the art. The daylighting sets a new standard for how contemporary works in glass are displayed. A 150-foot-long window wall along the north side of the building will provide views of a new one-acre campus green, unifying the indoor and outdoor experience.
The luminous all-glass gallery building will be juxtaposed against the black metal exterior of the adjacent historic glass factory ventilator building that will contain the new venue for the Museum’s signature live glassmaking presentations. The space, which can be entered through the new contemporary gallery, will accommodate 500 people through retractable banked seating, and will feature a gallery-level balcony running around the perimeter of the venue that offers 360-degree views of the glassmaking below.
“The Corning Museum of Glass is the world’s leading art museum dedicated to the presentation, display, and interpretation of glass and glassmaking. The architecture of the museum, since the first building in 1951, has illustrated innovative uses of glass in architecture,” said Karol Wight, executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “Thomas Phifer’s design for the North Wing gallery marks a dramatic new chapter in the rich history of modern and contemporary glass architecture on our campus.”
The campus currently features a collection of buildings designed by Harrison & Abramowitz (1951), Gunnar Birkerts (1980), Smith-Miller + Hawkinson (2001), and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (2001).
The expansion will dramatically enhance the visitor experience for the Museum’s more than 400,000 annual domestic and international visitors. The USD 64 million project – fully funded before groundbreaking by major benefactor Corning Incorporated – will open to the public in 2014.
Other features of the expansion include:
The transformation by architects Smith-Miller + Hawkinson of a theatre space originally designed by the firm in 1999, into an additional live glassmaking venue (July 2012)
A renovation of the Museum’s café, which opened in 2012, designed by HAIGH Architects in association with Hunt Engineers, Architects, Surveyors (April 2012)
Relocated and improved parking for bus groups (July 2012)
New education spaces (2014)
New office and storage spaces (2014)