The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced that Peterson Rich Office (PRO) will serve as lead designer of a sweeping redesign project focused on overhauling retail and dining spaces at the storied museum complex that spans two million square feet along the eastern edge of Central Park. Joining the 2018 RECORD Design Vanguard for this “major institutional initiative” is Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) in the role of executive architect. While BBB has long served in this role for the Met, both firms have experience with redesigning/renovating art spaces within historical contexts. As a featured presenter at last month’s 2023 Innovation Conference in New York, PRO’s Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich spoke on the topic with a presentation entitled “Contemporary Art and Historic Architecture.”
“We are honored to be a part of a long lineage of architects working within such an iconic New York, and uniquely American, institution,” said Peterson and Rich in a statement. “It is with a sense of great responsibility that we undertake this project.”
Nathan Rich and Miriam Peterson, founding partners of PRO. Photo © Weston Wells
This newest reimagining scheme at the Met will largely zero in on the museum’s existing shopping and dining spaces, including transforming the current Met Store adjacent to the Great Hall into a 11,500-square-foot special exhibition gallery that will display the Costume Institute’s spring show along with rotating exhibitions from other curatorial departments throughout the year. Other areas will be reconfigured to allow for refreshed lower-level dining and retail spaces as part of what Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli, the museum’s vice president of capital projects, referred to as “an immensely complicated” undertaking. Outside, the plaza at the Fifth Avenue and 83rd Street entrance will be activated for greater guest access to the museum, which ranks as the largest and third-most visited museum in the United States.
Said Max Hollein, the Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO, of the project, which is currently in the early planning stages: “The ways in which visitors and local communities interact with cultural institutions have changed dramatically over the past few years, and this project presents an opportunity for us to invest even more in the visitor experience and create new ways for all communities to enjoy the museum—both during and outside our regular hours.”
While details on the initiative—including its budget—are scarce at this point, the Met plans for the project to be completed over two phases, with the debut of the Met Store-turned-exhibition gallery slated for 2026. The renovated entrance plaza and reconfigured dining and retail areas will follow. Fundraising is in progress, with Vogue editor in chief and Met trustee Anna Wintour—the Costume Institute's permanent space at the Met bears her name—taking on a leadership role.