Frida Escobedo to Design the Met’s New Art Wing

Portrait of Frida Escobedo in front of a mural.
Photo: Zoltan Tombor

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has named Frida Escobedo (MDes ’12) to oversee the $500 million redesign and renovation of the modern and contemporary art wing. The wing will be named after longtime trustee Oscar L. Tang and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist and art historian, who gave $125 million toward the project. Escobedo, whose firm is based in Mexico City, will become the first woman to design a wing at the museum.

In a press release, Met director Max Hollein said, “The new wing will be a vibrant, exhilarating space that meets the Met’s current and future needs while promoting a lively representation and reevaluation of the art of the 20th and 21st centuries in the context of 5,000 years of art history.” Hollein praised Escobedo as “an outstanding architect of our time,” and explained that “she wields architecture as a way to create powerful spatial and communal experiences, and she has shown dexterity and sensitivity in her elegant use of material while bringing sincere attention to today’s socioeconomic and ecological issues.”

In a statement, Escobedo said, “The Met is one of the most relevant sites for culture on a global scale, and it is an honor to be selected for this historic architectural reimagining. The Tang Wing presents an opportunity to give new life to the Museum’s art from the 20th and 21st century; to celebrate the dynamics we can find within art of different times, geographies, and ideologies; and to uncover new spaces for self-reflection and connection with others.”

Escobedo was chosen from a shortlist of architectural firms that included Ensamble Studio, Lacaton & Vassal, SO — IL, and David Chipperfield Architects. According to her website, Escobedo has “developed an approach based on the idea that architecture and design represent a crucial medium for raising questions and discussing social, economic, political and cultural phenomena,” and that “art, both contemporary and historical, serves as a starting point for the development of each project.”

Escobedo returned to the GSD in 2018 to lead the options studio course “Domestic Orbits.” In 2019, she participated in the jury selection of the Wheelwright Prize and presented an Open House Lecture at the school. More recently, an interview with Escobedo is featured in the latest issue of Harvard Design Magazine (#49) and an upcoming monograph of her work Split Subject is slated to be published by Harvard Design Press this fall.