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Architectural firm Marvel leads Bronx Museum of the Arts expansion

Since the Bronx Museum of the Arts was initially inaugurated at its current location in 1982, it has undergone two major expansions. In 1998, the building added a central triplex atrium and lobby and later, a three-story northern wing in 2006.

The Bronx Museum recently announced an expansion of its southern wing, scheduled to break ground in spring of 2023. This project will be overseen by the multidisciplinary architectural firm Marvel, and will feature a restaurant, boutique, and new public spaces.

Marvel has an extensive and diverse portfolio of Bronx-based commissions, including the upcoming renovation of the Orchard Beach Pavilion, a comprehensive master plan for Mill Pond Park and Bronx Point, a current project.

The firm has offices in New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Richmond, Virginia.

“Not only do we understand the spirit of the Bronx, but we understand the need for the Museum to be connected to its communities, to project and engage with that diversity,” said Jonathan Marvel, founding partner.

“Our responsibility as architects is to reconnect the museum to its surrounding neighborhoods by creating a sense of transparency, openness and by bringing the sidewalk into the galleries — and the galleries out into the sidewalk,” he said.

The Bronx County is the third most populated county nationwide and one of five boroughs in New York City. It is known for its rich urban multicultural fusion. The Puerto Rican community in the Bronx has been an integral part of the county’s history, and currently represents roughly 23% of its population, according to Puerto Rico Rises, a state nonprofit organization. 

The Bronx is a melting pot of culture, education and entrepreneurship that is continuously evolving along with its community and visitors. Through these new add-ons, the Museum hopes to craft and integrate a creative space for the Bronx and its people, as an opportunity to display their art and talents, and create a better museum experience from inside and outside. 

Marvel is currently evaluating a potential relocation of the museum’s entrance to a more visible and accessible place on the corner of the Grand Concourse at 165th Street, as part of its design.  Marvel is also considering an array of redesign materials for this project.

Founded in 1971, the Bronx Museum of the Arts serves an ethnically diverse population and stimulates community interest in the visual arts. The museum offers free admission and is recognized as an internationally cultural destination that presents innovative contemporary art exhibitions. 

It also features complementary educational public programs to promote cross-cultural dialogues to its visitors and community, and an opportunity to learn about their heritage, history, and cultural legacies. 

Since 1982, the museum has been housed in a converted synagogue boasting more than 33,000 square feet, featuring 20th century artists from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, among others.  This year marks the museum’s 50th anniversary.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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