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Custom Brass Frames Help Light Shine on Frick Collection’s New Portico Gallery

Custom Brass Frames Help Light Shine on Frick Collection’s New Portico Gallery

Mac Metals and Frick CollectionSome of the world’s most elegant bronze sculptures reside in the Henry Clay Frick House, a mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where the Frick Collection of paintings, artwork and furniture resides. When the institution decided to open its first new exhibition space in 35 years last winter by encasing a covered garden portico, it was fitting that precision bronze extrusions from MAC Metals were a key design element.

The Portico Gallery for Decorative Arts and Sculpture, designed by Davis Brody Bond (DBB) Architects, turned the south-facing loggia running alongside the Fifth Avenue-fronted yard into an enclosed sculpture gallery bathed in sunlight. To showcase the building’s uniqueness and “maintain the character of an outdoor space,” according to DBB partner Carl Krebs, two-inch-thick, low-iron glass panels, cantilevered from below, were installed between the existing limestone columns. Precise bronze curtain walls fashioned by M. Cohen and Sons of Broomall, Pa., were used to line and frame the 14-by-7 foot windows.

Frick Collection Front Building

Frick Collection HallwayM. Cohen and Sons needed components in six-to-eight weeks that required little to no welding, in order to minimize discoloration, and would allow for 16-foot spans without traverse seams. It wasn’t possible with brake-forming sheet. They instead turned to MAC
Metals for custom extruded shapes of C38500 Architectural Bronze. The 23 custom extruded shapes from MAC made up the bronze structures and trim and provided consistent color and surface throughout. The quick turnaround, especially of jambs and headers, also allowed construction to proceed without requiring full delivery.

Frick Collection Window

The bronze pieces were chemically treated to accelerate the patina to maintain the proper finish, which provides a bright color contrast to the original limestone. Now, masterpieces like the French Enlightenment sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon’s Diana the Huntress can cast their gaze on New York from a proper perch.   




M. Cohen and Sons, Inc., a full service architectural metal and glass firm in Broomall, Pa., specializes in stairs, rails, curtainwalls, custom architectural forgings and prides themselves on helping an architect’s or contractor’s idea reach its full expression.


Frick Collection WindowMAC Metals is a fully integrated brass mill located in Kearny, N.J. MAC specializes in custom brass, bronze and nickel-silver extrusions for architectural applications.