Launch Slideshow

Corning Museum of Glass Expansion

Corning Museum of Glass Expansion

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    The exterior of the new North Wing of the Corning Museum of Glass, designed by New York-based Thomas Phifer & Partners, is composed of a white aluminum skin covered in glass fins that are interrupted by sections of vision glass, including a 150-foot-long window that overlooks the adjacent greenspace.

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Exterior rendering

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Detail view of 150-foot-long window in the fin-covered façade.

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Detail rendering of glass fins.

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Interior rending, showing one of the new gallery spaces. The new wing contains an additional 26,000 square feet of gallery space for the museum to display its collection of contemporary glass works.

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Building Section

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    Courtesy Thomas Phifer & Partners

    Transverse section through the existing Steuben ventilator building, which is being renovated as part of this expansion project.


New York architect Thomas Phifer, FAIA, revealed his design for the 100,000-square-foot Corning Museum of Glass North Wing Expansion at his office last week. The new wing of the Corning, N.Y.–based institution will feature new galleries for the museum’s collection of contemporary works in glass and calls for the renovation of the Steuben Glass Factory industrial building, which is topped by its iconic Robertson Ventilator.

Home to a collection of 45,000 objects that span 3,500 years of glassmaking, Corning’s campus also has a stellar architectural history. Harrison and Abramowitz, architects of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall (1962), designed the original Corning Incorporated Building, which opened on the north side of the campus in 1951. Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architect’s 2001 addition, the Glass Innovation Center, borders the south side. These existing structures and Phifer’s expansion will define a new public park, designed by the landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand. The park will include a one-acre campus green that will provide views into the new galleries and glass-making studios.

Phifer’s design includes an additional 26,000 square feet of gallery space, specifically engineered to showcase the museum’s growing collection of large-scale contemporary works of art and design in glass. “We began the design process by trying to understand the secrets of glass,” explained Phifer in his presentation. “We gathered clues from the collection—how glass objects absorb, sparkle, and radiate wonder. We discovered that the simpler the space, the brighter the object shines.”

His design for the galleries consists of a series of softly rendered sculptural divisions enclosed in a crisp glass-and-steel shell. The interior walls are hollow cast-in-place concrete slabs, which contain and conceal the mechanical equipment. A white-aluminum shell is articulated with ultra-thin, vertical glass blades, occasionally interrupted by expanses of flat vision glass. In particular, a 150-foot-long window wall will provide views from the interior to the campus green and from the green into the galleries, unifying the indoor and outdoor experience.

Phifer’s renovation of the Steuben ventilator building will keep the structure’s unusual profile, while providing a venue for the museum’s live glassmaking presentations. The new space will accommodate 500 people with retractable seating, and a new gallery-level balcony around the perimeter will provide 360-degree views of the glassmaking below.

Ground broke on Thursday on the $64 million project, and the museum anticipates that the new wing will be complete and open to the public in 2014.