We love the understated design for the new addition to the Corning Museum of Glass featured in Architectural Record. Architect Thomas Phifer recently revealed his firm’s design for the $64 million expansion, which is scheduled for completion by 2014.

Founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works and inspired by the Glass Center of the 1939 World’s Fair, this unique museum houses a collection of 45,000 glass objects spanning 35 centuries. The new “North Wing” will augment the original L-shaped building of the museum, an International Style creation by Harrison & Abramowitz. Other improvements to the museum grounds include converting a large concrete parking area into green space, as well as turning an old ventilator building into a demonstration area with room for 500. According to Architectural Record,

The galleries receive daylight that filters down between structural concrete beams from skylights above. These beams sit on top of 20-foot-tall plastered, poured-in-place concrete walls that meet buffed concrete floors. The walls are hollow and hide mechanical systems. Visitors will be able to walk around the perimeter of the galleries and see views of the new green space through a 150-foot-long window on the north facade.

The beauty of this building is its understated elegance. It puts the focus on the environment, the natural light, and the works of art, yet is still a striking, interesting structure for those who manage to rip themselves away from the extensive glass collection to examine the architecture.

What do you think of this example of contemporary public architecture? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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 images: Architectural Record