To celebrate its own decision to enlarge its existing building with an addition by Michael Graves, the Whitney Museum of Art is currently featuring seven designs for new museum buildings or for enlargements of other American museums, all either in the design stage or presently underway.1 Only a small portion of the many museum projects on the drawing boards today, they represent merely the latest stage in an extraordinary expansion of art museum facilities around the world since 1960.

In fact, the most creative public-building type during the past quarter of a century has been the art museum. It has not been the governmental building or the theater, although some outstanding examples of these will come to mind; nor has it been the public memorial or transportation terminal,...


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