History in the remaking: The Frick center renovation deserves support

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The Frick Art & Historical Center is one of the most beautiful and bucolic places in Pittsburgh. The former home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family attracts more than 125,000 visitors to its 5.5-acre grounds in Point Breeze every year. Playing host to tour groups, school outings, weddings and prestigious art exhibits has made this historic landmark a much-visited institution.

This week, the Frick Art & Historical Center announced a $15 million renovation and expansion that will be completed by the end of 2015. The two-phase project will include the construction of a new orientation center, education center and community center. The 3,000-foot orientation center will feature high-transparency glass walls to make it easier for the structure to blend in with the foliage around it.

The Frick will also expand storage facilities and children's exhibitions. Its collection of art, cars and carriages will remain on display during the renovation. Additional structures and modifications to existing buildings won't detract from the campus' attractive landscape. Everything will be built or renovated to LEED standards to maximize energy conservation and environmental compatibility. To this end, the Frick hired the Boston-based firm Schwartz/Silver Architects and the Garfied-based Loysen + Kreuthmeir Architects to do the makeover.

With $6.5 million already in hand from foundation grants, employee and trustee contributions, the proposal is well on the way to reaching its $15 million goal.

The entire community should be invested in the continued success and beautification of the Frick Art & Historical Center. A project like this only enhances Pittsburgh.

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