In a press release yesterday, the North Carolina Museum of Art announced plans for a long-term, multi-phase renovation of its 164-acre campus, Museum Park. The plan includes a new campus entrance and street front, woodland and meadow restoration, new bike and pedestrian trails, additional parking spots, a new building and new outdoor artworks.
“The goal of this plan is to connect people, art and nature in a sustainable way,” project leader Dan Gottlieb, NCMA’s director of planning and design, said in the press release.
NCMA received $13 million from an anonymous donor to complete the first phase of construction, which focuses on improvements along Blue Ridge Road. Scheduled to begin in spring 2015, the construction aims to improve landscaping and access. New bike and pedestrian paths will connect the Blue Ridge Road corridor with the Capital Area Greenway, and NCMA is working with the City of Raleigh to put a new bus stop on Blue Ridge near NCMA’s entrance.
There will also be a new “discovery walk,” lined with trees and billboard-sized works of art, leading from the West Building, past the East Building and into the park where a new permanent work by New York artist Jim Hodges will be installed. Hodges has been commissioned to transform the campus’ 120-foot-tall brick smokestack, one of the last remaining structures from the site’s former tenant, the Polk Youth Detention Center.
The construction is expected to affect the museum’s operations and patrons “as minimally as possible,” Gottlieb told the INDY yesterday. “Of course, it will be invasive, working right at the entrance to the museum, but we’re making every effort to stage it in a way that doesn’t affect operations. It’s not going to be like when we built the West Building [in 2010].” Gottlieb said that the first phase of construction should take about 18 months.
The first phase has been funded but not contracted to a builder, Gottlieb said. Two more phases of renovation are proposed, though no funding or timelines are in place. In the museum’s vision plan, the second phase will focus on building a new “Museum Center,” a multi-use performance space on the east side of the campus. The second phase will also include the improvement of meadows and woods, the restoration of House Creek and the addition of 250 overflow parking spots.
Firm details are not yet available on the prospective third phase, though it remains geared toward fostering community engagement with NCMA’s extensive outdoor areas—perhaps, Gottlieb said, with a new public sculpture park that could also be utilized for outdoor festivals or other events.
The Denver, Colorado-based architecture and urban design firm Civitas, Inc., has been hired to develop the plan. You can see some concept art below.