Back in October of 2016, YIMBY reported on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval of plans for the American Museum of Natural History’s expansion, which has been dubbed the Gilder Center. Now, permits for the project have been filed with the Department of Buildings, indicating that work is about to begin on the contemporarily-minded addition to one of New York City’s most iconic institutions.
The address on the filing is 200 Central Park West, and the Museum sits between West 77th and West 81st Streets, on the Upper West Side. The addition will be located on the western side of the Museum, taking up space that was intended to hold parts of the original masterplan, which was not completed.
Jeanne Gang is behind the design, which will certainly contrast against the existing architectural language of the site. While the LPC is busy finagling details on mega-mansions and townhouse expansions, it seems slightly uncharacteristic for something so jarringly dissimilar to the site’s original intended design to gain approval, but New York City’s landmarks approval process is not exactly known for its logic or common sense.
Despite the dissimilarities between the intention of the Museum’s iconic and timeless original master plan and the imminent expansion, its purpose will be noble, and the addition will be officially dubbed the “Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation.” The addition will total 245,000 square feet, rising six floors and 127 feet to its rooftop, as per a spokesman for the AMNH.
Interiors were allegedly inspired by Antelope Canyon out West, as well as the geometries of ice. While the exterior can be classified somewhere between eccentric and offensive, the inside will be substantially more interesting, with lofty open ceilings accompanied by cave-like entrances into the various exhibits that will occupy the space.
No official completion date has been announced, but with work set to begin imminently, a 2021 estimate would not be unreasonable. Davis Brody Bond Architects filed for the permits.