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Construction on Frank Gehry’s Philadelphia Museum of Art master plan to begin next year

Big changes are coming!

The exterior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The museum has columns flanking the entryway and a large courtyard in front.
Construction on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s $196 million core project is set to begin next year.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Construction on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s core project, designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, is set to begin in 2017.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that signs of construction are evident around the Horace Trumbauer-designed museum, though you wouldn’t know what’s in store for the cultural institution from the inside. Once construction on the $196 million project begins, however, visitors will have to be re-directed this way and that.

The core project will so transform the museum interior and infrastructure that museumgoers will be hard pressed to avoid it.

While virtually all of the public collection will remain accessible for the duration of the project (expected to wrap in spring 2020), museum officials say, there will be notable obstacles to negotiate during construction.

It’s all part of Gehry’s master plan, which his firm put together in 2006 and revealed in 2014. The museum’s board of trustees only just gave approval for the plans this past June.

Some big changes coming to the museum include a 640-foot vaulted walkway that will run from Kelly Drive to the Schuylkill River. The Inquirer notes that it hasn’t been opened since the 1960s. More gallery space will be built and multiple spaces, including Lenfest Hall, will be renovated.

The official groundbreaking isn’t until next spring, and construction is expected to finish up in spring 2020. You can watch a sneak peek of Gehry’s plans in the video below.