News

Largest Contemporary Glass Museum to Open in Upstate NY

by Hrag Vartanian on June 6, 2012

An artist's rendering of the Corning Museum's proposed North Wing facade (all images courtesy Thomas Phifer and Partners unless otherwise noted) (click to enlarge)

Corning, New York, is going to be the site of the world’s largest space dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art glass, or “contemporary art in glass” as they like to call it. The Corning Museum of Glass has unveiled plans to expand their museum with a 100,000-square-foot expansion designed by architect Thomas Phifer and Partners, the team who completed the award-winning North Carolina Museum of Art that was described by one architectural writer as a “museum building that strives to nearly disappear.”

An artist's rendering of the new North Wing.

The $64 million project is scheduled to open in 2014 and will be fully funded by the Corning Incorporated, which is a leading American manufacturer of glass, ceramics and related materials. The Associated Press reports that the museum attracts 400,000 visitors a year. The Corning Museum of Glass is best known for its substantial collection of historic glass objects starting from the ancient period and continuing until today. Notably, the institution has the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of paperweights, though there is no word on what museum can boast to having the second largest such collection.

The Corning Museum is best known for its historic glass but that may all change with the new expansion: (left to right) a 11th C. CE Islamic ewer, a 1st C. CE vessel shaped like bird and 16th–17th C. CE Venetian covered goblet. (all images via cmog.org)

The new North Wing design creates 26,000-square-feet of gallery space for large-scale contemporary works of art and design in glass and it will have a new temporary exhibition gallery devoted to contemporary art and design.

A artist's rendering of the new North Wing corridor.

“Contemporary glass loves light, especially natural light, and space,” said Tina Oldknow, the Museum’s curator of modern glass. “The new daylighting system represents a dramatic change in how contemporary works in glass are viewed, and the Museum’s monumental sculptures will have an exhibition space appropriate to their size. This is the first large-scale presentation of contemporary glass that takes advantage of natural light.”

The expansion will include renovations to the existing ventilator building, which is adjacent to the Museum, and provide a larger, more accesible new glassmaking space.

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