It's hard to imagine the world's largest glass museum getting bigger, but that's exactly what's happening in Corning.
On March 20th, 2015 The Corning Museum of Glass will become even more spectaular!
That's the day the new North Wing - a 100,000 square foot addition which will nearly double the museum's size - will officially open to the public.
Think of all that space filled with even more remarkable art and artifacts.
I'll admit it. I never gave much thought to how much thought actually goes into designing a museum.
Until recently, that is, when I had the privilege of getting a special behind the scenes hard hat tour of the North Wing Expansion. I can honestly say that the phrase "A LOT" is a gross understatement.
I guess it shouldn't be surprising that a museum with such extraordinary art on display would approach a massive expansion as a creation of another type of art, but the architectural design of the new North Wing is quite a feat and will be absolutely beautiful.
Although the exterior of the contemporary art gallery "is a square, minimalist white glass building" it contains "soaring, daylight-filled galleries."
I knew that going in, and now you do too, but be prepared because it's not until you actually step inside all that wonderful space that you get a true sense of just how aesthetic and inviting the experience is.
The museum notes on its website: "The facade 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." Quite simply, the white walls are vast (in height and in the way they stretch out ahead of you), with occasional undulations, or curves, that provide a sense of flow and continuity.
I found the walk through the galleries to be calming and compelling despite the construction going on around us. "The building will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass." It's not every day a museum that already astounds gets even more astounding. But the way the walls and floors and lighting all work together, once they have the art up, it's going to be breathtaking.
Then there's the new live glassblowing facilities.
According to the museum:
"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."
I stood in the balcony area and all I can say is WOW! What a space.
But special care is also being given to the grounds around the expansion with new green spaces for outdoor enjoyment and providing, as the museum states, "an ideal spot for visitors or community members to relax or picnic, as well as a pleasant public space for Museum events."
Keep watch as we get closer to March for more exciting news about this awesome undertaking.