The Art Gallery of Ontario (FROM) announced today that a team led by Selldorf Architects working in close collaboration with Diamond Schmitt Architects and Two Row Architect in the role of Indigenous Architect, has been selected to lead the design phase of a major expansion project in museum‘s downtown campus TorontoThe Grange Park area.
Dubbed AGO Global Contemporary, the proposed expansion, first made public in January this year, will yield approximately 50,000 gross feet of dedicated space for the museum to display its growing connection to global modern and contemporary art. Describing each firm as “a recognized leader in creating vibrant cultural spaces”, AGO noted in a press release that Selldorf Architects, Diamond Schmitt and Two Row were selected for the project following a “process of rigorous selection”.
The expansion project is expected to cost estimated at $42 million.
Established in 1900 as the Art Museum of Toronto and operating in its current location since 1913, the AGO, with its current 480,000 square feet, is one of the largest art museums in North America and the second in importance in Toronto after the Royal Ontario. Museum. Like noted by the Globe & Mail’s Alex Bozikovic earlier this year, the AGO is also the second most visited museum in Canada after the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Anchored by The Grange – built in 1817, the iconic Georgian mansion is the AGO’s oldest building – and the main building of the Fine Arts Museum which opened in 1918, the sprawling complex has undergone many expansions over the years. decades – seven in total according to the AGO, plus several transformative renovations. The most recent major expansion was the 97,000 square foot, led by Frank Gehry AGO Transformation redevelopment project that debuted in critically acclaimed in November 2008. (The project was Gehry’s first commission in his native Toronto.) More recently, KPMB Architects and Hariri Pontarini Architects executed major renovations to the museum.
As noted by the AGO, one of the main goals of this latest expansion is to achieve Net Zero Carbon certification – if successful, AGO Global Contemporary would only join a small handful of museum spaces to reach. Now that the design team has been selected and made public, the museum will unveil a design concept at a public presentation scheduled for later this year. The proposed design will undergo a municipal and public review process and will require final approval by the AGO Board of Directors.
“A project with global impact requires an international perspective, rooted in this country and this city,” said Stephan Jost, Director and CEO of Michael and Sonja Koerner of the Art Gallery of Ontario, in a communicated. “AGO Global Contemporary is poised to launch the museum as a force in the international art world – and this team will take us there. It is a group that is unrivaled in its experience and caliber and reflects the global contemporary vision of AGO.
“I am convinced that this team of architects will produce an exceptional expansion for our museum,” added Jost.
Partner Arne Suraga of Diamond Schmitt, which has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York, and Brian Porter (Oneida Nation) of Two Row Architect, based in the Six Nations of the Grand River territory with a satellite office in Toronto, are guest speakers at Ait is Facades+ Toronto July 21 conference.
A will follow up on that initial announcement when the concept design is revealed later this year.