Tod Williams and Billie Tsien join the Rubble Club as American Folk Art Museum demolition begins

Folk Art Museum
CC BY 2.0 Margaret Badore

The Rubble Club is a British organization "open to all who have had buildings destroyed in their lifetime." Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have the unusual honor of being eligible before their significant and important American Folk Art Museum even reaches Bar Mitzvah age. It has to go because it's in the way of yet another bland expansion of the Museum of Modern Art, which has become more like an airport than a museum in scale and appearance.

© MoMA/ Replacement for the museum designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

It seems that even architects as talented as Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who did the High Line and many other wonderful projects, didn't have the imagination to figure out how to integrated this into the building, so off it goes to the dump, with the brass facade going into storage somewhere. So what if the greenest building is the one already standing or if it is an important work by an important firm. Or as the founder of the Rubble Club, Isi Metzstein, explains:

Buildings should be reused as much as possible, careless knocking down of landmarks illustrates the fragility of their masterworks. I’m a great believer that buildings should be reused as much as possible, the public are entitled to live in a somewhat stable visual environment.

I asked Margaret Badore to get a few last shots before the scaffolding went up to cover the deconstruction of the facade.

Margaret Badore/CC BY 2.0

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are quoted in the New York Times:

While the demolition is deeply painful to all of us who helped create it, our distress is of secondary importance to the civic, cultural, and sustainable issues the debated surrounding the building has raised. We remain deeply grateful to all who have protested this senseless and unnecessary act of destruction.

Margaret Badore/CC BY 2.0

A building admired, visited and studied by so many will now be reduced to memory. We understand the facade will be put in storage, but we worry it will never be seen again.

Tags: New York City | Preservation

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