The Museum of Modern Art may be backing down from its initial plan to raze the adjacent American Folk Art Museum building, a decision that generated a protest from designers and preservationists worldwide, as well as from the ecologically minded.

Thursday, MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry sent a memo to MoMA's trustees and staff announcing the museum had retained Diller Scofidio + Renfro to "work with us to design a plan that will integrate the Museum's current building with the property of the American Folk Art Museum . . . We readily agreed to consider a range of options, and look forward to seeing their results."

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A statement from Diller Scofidio + Renfro said the design firm would explore all possibilities, "which include, but are not limited to, integrating the former American Folk Art Museum building, designed by our friends and admired colleagues, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien."

"My sense is they will try to save at least some of it. I can't imagine good designers destroying a great building for no good reason," said Quilian Riano, acting professor of design at Parsons The New School.

Riano helped lead a digital battle to offer MoMA "alternative visions" to destroying the 12-year-old building on West 53rd Street that swept world architecture awards when it was erected. Lowry's statement said he hoped to share the results of the "creative process with you by the end of the year."

-- amNewYork