Full steam ahead: Frank Gehry on board to design Massachusetts model railway museum

Architect Frank Gehry has been commissioned to develop the design for a model railway museum in Massachusetts, which will feature miniature work from a host of the world’s leading designers.

According to The Boston Globe newspaper, Gehry visited the city of North Adams last week to visit the site earmarked for the 83,000sq ft (7,700sq m) Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum.

Architecture practice Gluckman Tang had been developing a design for the project, but it appears they have now been replaced by Gehry. The Canadian-American has previously collaborated with the museum’s chief backer Thomas Krens – the former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation – including on the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

According to reports, the proposed US$65m (€54.6m, £50.1m) museum will feature 110 continuously operating model trains, travelling past mini models designed by some of the world’s leading architects.

“It has spectacular potential,” Gehry told the Globe. “I don’t know of anything quite like what Krens has in mind.”

Krens added: “There is no real architecture museum anywhere in the world. People like miniaturisation, and they are drawn to motion.”

He claimed the bulk of the funding would come from private investors, and that 500,000 to 700,000 annual visitors would pass through the museum’s doors.

The museum would be a high-profile addition to a wider cultural corridor in and around the city's Western Gateway Heritage State Park. According to the Globe, Krens has brought French architect Jean Nouvel on board to design a luxury hotel, a museum devoted to American art, and a museum devoted to motorcycles, while Gehry will renovate the city’s Mohawk Theater and design a pedestrian bridge.

It also says that architect Richard Gluckman has signed on to design the Massachusetts Museum of Time, which will be devoted to industrial clocks.

Gehry has a number of museum projects the pipeline. He has masterplanned the transformation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s main building; designed a museum celebrating French art, aesthetics and urbanity in Paris for luxury goods billionaire Bernard Arnault; and is reuniting with Krens on the delayed Guggenheim branch in Abu Dhabi.

Frank Gehry  Thomas Krens  Massachusetts  North Adams  Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum  design 
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