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A group that pressed the Frick Collection to drop a controversial expansion plan is now floating an alternative it says would let the museum modernize without destroying its intimate feel.
Members of Unite to Save the Frick, which includes preservationists, architects and Upper East Siders, met with museum officials last week to discuss their proposal. The plan would preserve a cherished space on East 70th Street designed by British landscape architect Russell Page.
The Frick intended to replace the garden—a space with pea-gravel paths and boxwood around a rectangular reflecting pool, all closed to the public—with a new wing rising as high as six stories. It abandoned that plan in June after months of criticism.
Instead of building up and out, the alternative plan, developed by New York architect David Helpern, would largely reconfigure the museum’s existing space. Much of the expansion would take place below grade, an approach employed at London’s British Museum, the Morgan Library & Museum and others. […]