May 14, 2008

Renzo Piano's High Museum addition

I finally had a chance to see the new expansion to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, designed by Renzo Piano as an addition to Richard Meier's design for the original building. I visited after closing, so couldn't see the galleries, but I did get a sense of how the new building works with the old.

The new entrance courtyard is classic Piano, understated, restrained, and lovingly detailed.  Without the posters on the facade, there is little that announces that this is a major museum.
As you come into the courtyard, however, the detailing begins to suggest that this is a special place.
The modernist pergola here provides a little shelter and also helps transition into the the outdoor seating area for the restaurant, which also serves the Arts Center. 

(The restaurant was beautiful, the food disappointing.)

Next trip to Atlanta, I'll be sure to get inside.

May 13, 2008

Cleveland Institute of Art over budget

Continuing a running theme of cautionary tales, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the cost estimates for the new Cleveland Institute of Art are "'well north' of the $55 million budgeted for the project." Apparently initial estimates showed the "large, steel-framed glass structure that arched up and sideways at the center like a gigantic inchworm" could be built within the budget, but a second estimate determined that "required space for ramps added to the building’s size and cost as did the complicated steel framing needed to create the arch." While this will be a challenge for the museum, it is far better to get a realistic budget before construction begins. Pictures are here. (Note: technically, this is not a museum building, it is primarily studio space, but the issues are very much the same.)