I was in NYC last week, so I went to the MET.When we lived in NYC, our apartment was only 4 blocks away, and I would often find myself in the museum discovering something new. Despite my frequent visits to this extraordinary building, and my background in preservation, my focus has never been on the architecture. I am always looking at the collections. This time, I decided I would pay a little bit of attention to the building itself.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in its current location at 82nd and Fifth Avenues in 1880. The originally building, seen here, was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. If the name Calvert Vaux seems familiar to you, it should be. He is the architect who, along with Frederick Law Olmsted, designed Central Park. As the MET Museum’s collections grew, additions were added to this building. Today, this entire original structure is encased by later additions.
The facade of the MET that we are all familiar with today was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and opened to the public in 1902. Hunt, who was a Trustee of the Museum, was also the founder of the Municipal Arts Society and the American Institute of Architects. So if you live in New York, stroll on over to the MET, go the Robert Lehman Wing, and go check out the building’s original facade.