Frank Gehry, the salty museum-building starchitect, has signed on to design a new offbeat cultural institution for the town of North Adams, Massachusetts: the Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum. Tiny trains! Running past models of famous architecture! The idea is so oddly delightful that the $65 million, 83,000-square-foot museum might just be the attraction we didn’t know we needed.
The institution is the brainchild of former Guggenheim Museum director and a Mass MoCA founder Thomas Krens, who sees the building as the catalyst for a new “Bilbao Effect” in North Adams, helping to attract even more tourism and economic opportunity to the area. The railroad and architecture museum will be located just a few blocks from Mass MoCA, the town’s creative engine which wrapped up a massive expansion this spring.
The new museum will feature models of famous buildings from the last 150 years, including the work of 71 famous architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and six structures by Gehry. These buildings will be recreated at 1:48 scale, with the Empire State building rising to the height of 35 feet. They’ll be surrounded by over 100 model trains, including two high-speed lines. According to MassLive, the 670-foot-long gallery is expected to open by 2021.
Check out a model of the proposed museum below.