Archive for ‘Renzo Piano Building Workshop’

December 31, 2011

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

The architect’s turquoise copper complement to the revered institution is set to open next month.

By William Hanley

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

Pre-patinated copper cladding wraps much of the new building.
Image © Nic Lehoux

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion  Fire stairs adorn the green facades.

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

A new gallery space features a variable-height ceiling.

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

Musicians play on the floor of the box-like performance hall.

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

Narrow balconies wrapping the performance space afford views of musicians below as well as other concertgoers.

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

Shown under construction, Piano’s addition moves the museum’s main entrance to a side street.

First Look: Piano’s Addition to Boston’s Gardner Museum Near Completion

The original 1903 building’s entrance faces the Fenway.

Six weeks before its scheduled opening, Renzo Piano’s addition to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has entered the final stages of construction, and on a recent visit it bustled with workers applying finishes in advance of the January 19th debut. Connected to the back of the museum’s original building by a 50-foot glass walkway, the addition only slightly alters the revered Boston institution—a faux-palazzo built in 1903 as a house for the society luminary Isabella Stewart Gardner and her vast and eclectic art collection. But the new structure relieves the original building of ancillary spaces that had been squeezed into it over 70 years as a public museum.

Piano’s 70,000-square-foot addition includes a performing arts space and a gallery, as well as a new entrance, a restaurant, administrative offices, education spaces, conservation labs, a greenhouse, and apartments for the museum’s artist in residence program. The older structure will be primarily devoted to displaying the collection, which includes important work by Rembrandt, Titian, and a who’s who of old masters through Impressionism.

The addition took two years to complete and was result of a $180 million capital campaign that allocated $114 million to construction costs and $46 million for operating costs and the museum’s endowment. Annual attendance is expected to increase by 15 percent to 230,000 visitors.

When it decided to go forward with the project in 2004, the Gardner’s board formed a selection committee, but Piano initially declined to enter the running. “Of everyone we asked, only Rafael Moneo and Piano said no,” says the museum’s director Anne Hawley. The group had compiled a shortlist of prospective designers—including Tokyo-based SANAA, Phoenix’s Will Bruder, and Boston’s own William Rawn—when Piano changed his mind. (According to Hawley, he was persuaded by Raymond Nasher whose eponymous Dallas sculpture center Piano designed.) After a trip to Texas to see the Nasher and the Menil Collection, the committee threw out its list and settled on the Italian architect.

Divided into four primary volumes stitched together by a stair, Piano’s new building reorients the main entrance from the Fenway to Evans Way to the east. It is clad in glass and ridged plates of pre-patinated copper. The turquoise finish, mottled in places with greens and yellows, was intended to echo the copper details found on bay windows throughout Boston’s historic neighborhoods. Piano placed the fire stairs on the building’s exterior. Attached by a suspended rod system, the catwalks create a pattern of silver ribbons across the greenish background.

One glazed section of the facade encloses a new 1,500-square-foot gallery. The white box rises a dramatic 36 feet and, in a reference to the courtyard in the original building, is covered by Piano’s signature top lighting. A scrim stretches across an armature that can be raised and lowered by a mechanical system, allowing the ceiling height to be adjusted from the full 36 feet down to 24 or 12 feet depending on curatorial needs. “It has the flexibility to go from a wide-open, slightly outrageous contemporary space to an intimate gallery,” says director of operations Jim Labeck.

The largest of the four new volumes is a concrete cube housing the performing arts space. A skylight, 42 feet overhead, allows scrim-filtered daylight into the room. Piano paneled the hall in perforated white oak, and has hung curtains between the wood and concrete to allow the acoustics of the space to be adjusted for different performances. Acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, who worked with Frank Gehry on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the New World Symphony in Miami, consulted on the scheme.

There is no stage in the hall, which seats 296. Instead, performers play in the center of the cube’s floor with rows of seating surrounding them. Three levels of galleries above contain one row of seating each. Beveled glass balustrades with wooden railings, allow unusual sight lines from the upper levels down to the musicians below—and voyeuristic glances at fellow concert-goers straight across the balcony.

The Gardner’s tapestry room, which for decades had hosted concerts and other events, has been restored with furnishings organized according to archival photos. Layers of grime have been cleaned from the tiled floor. Other galleries in the original building still show some deterioration from years of public use. A jewel box of art and architectural elements from Europe and Asia, all installed to specifications set out in Gardner’s will, the museum is also a major cultural touchstone for the city. The theft of 13 works in 1990 was regarded as a public tragedy, and the museum met resistance from some community groups over the expansion.

The Gardener tore down a 1908 carriage house and a greenhouse added later to make room for the Piano wing, in addition to moving a sarcophagus from its original location, a process that required approval from the Massachusetts State Supreme Court. “As a matter of Gardner’s will, we had to go to court,” says Hawley. “But a small community group without an immediate connection to the museum also took us on.” The museum persevered, and at the end of the day, Hawley feels the addition crucially eases the strain on the revered palazzo. “It was impossible to deal with the wear and tear—now we can really preserve the original building.”

http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2011/12/Gardner-Museum.asp

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August 13, 2011

Isabella Stewart Gardner Expansion | Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum February 2011  The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s current entrance off of The Fenway, with the new wing and gallery visible behind it.

February 2011 The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s current entrance off of The Fenway, with the new wing and gallery visible behind it.

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum December 2010  View of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from Evans Way Park, towards the new wing and historic  building.

December 2010 View of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from Evans Way Park, towards the new wing and historic building

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum December 2010  Interior of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new Calderwood Performance Hall during construction.

December 2010 Interior of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new Calderwood Performance Hall during construction

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum April 2011  The new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from Evans Way Park (evening), showing the new  entrance and glass lobby (center), the sloping roof of the greenhouses and artist apartments (left), and the  floating copper clad volumes.

April 2011 The new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from Evans Way Park (evening), showing the new entrance and glass lobby (center), the sloping roof of the greenhouses and artist apartments (left), and the floating copper clad volumes

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum April 2011  The new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (evening) from across Evans Way Park, part of  Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace system of parks.

April 2011 The new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (evening) from across Evans Way Park, part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace system of parks

Photography © George Bouret / Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum April 2011  Exterior of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during construction (evening), showing the  new entrance and transparent glass lobby (center), the Special Exhibition Gallery floating above it (center),  and the historic building beyond.

April 2011 Exterior of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during construction (evening), showing the new entrance and transparent glass lobby (center), the Special Exhibition Gallery floating above it (center), and the historic building beyond.

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Rendering from Evans Way Park  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Rendering from Evans Way Park © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Renzo Piano Perspective Sketch of the Glass Connector from the New Wing to the Historic Museum Building  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Renzo Piano Perspective Sketch of the Glass Connector from the New Wing to the Historic Museum Building © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Renzo Piano Perspective Sketch, Site Plan of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston    © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

enzo Piano Perspective Sketch, Site Plan of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Renzo Piano Perspective Sketch, Elevation of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Renzo Piano Perspective Sketch, Elevation of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Site Plan of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston    © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Site Plan of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Floor Plan (First Floor) of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston    © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Floor Plan (First Floor) of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Floor Plan (Second Floor) of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston    © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Floor Plan (Second Floor) of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Section through the Performance Hall, the Glass Connector, Exterior Gardens, and Historic Museum Palace  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Section through the Performance Hall, the Glass Connector, Exterior Gardens, and Historic Museum Palace © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Detailed Section through the Performance Hall and The Gardner Cafe  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Detailed Section through the Performance Hall and The Gardner Cafe © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Detailed Section through the Special Exhibition Gallery and Living Room  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Detailed Section through the Special Exhibition Gallery and Living Room © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Section through the Special Exhibition Gallery, Living Room, Glass Connector, and Monks Garden  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Section through the Special Exhibition Gallery, Living Room, Glass Connector, and Monks Garden © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Elevation from Evans Way Park  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Elevation from Evans Way Park © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Elevation from Palace Road  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Elevation from Palace Road © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

© RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010 Elevation from Tetlow Street  © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Elevation from Tetlow Street © RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP, 2010

Opening in 2012, the $118 million steel, glass, and copper-clad expansion to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum by Renzo Piano Building Workshop will more than double the size of the current facility. Included in the project are a new entrance, music hall, gallery space, and other amenities for an institution that has remained largely unaltered since opening in 1903.

 

The original facility, a Venetian-style palazzo completed in 1901, will remain almost untouched as the new wing is connected to the original museum through a glass passageway. Rather than radically alter the museum experience, the design is intended to augment what is already there. Piano’s new four-story building will host visitor services, now in cramped quarters in the palace; a new 300 seat music hall, allowing the Gardner to stop holding concerts in its delicate and often overcrowded tapestry room; a triple-height gallery for temporary exhibitions; as well as new lobby space, offices, and conservation facilties. A second, smaller structure with a sloping glass roof will house a greenhouse and apartments for artists-in-residence. In total the wing will add 70,000 square feet to the museum’s current 60,000 square feet.

Forget light–I think Piano’s plan for the Gardner is all about drawing. I think that there’s something to this comment posted by Boston Globe arts writer Geoff Edgers on paper’s EXHIBITIONIST blog:

If you’ve ever been around Renzo Piano for, say, 30 seconds, you see how this guy just needs to draw. He has a pencil with him at all times and seems to need to scribble constantly. Turns out he rocked the commission old school when asked to come up with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new project.

The building itself is drawn, not just in its representation but in its conceptual construction. The building seems drawn from its institutional context, a remix of existing phenomenological fragments cobbled together into a something new but uncannily familiar. The relationship between the new wing and the original is like that of a drawing to that which it depicts–the translation of the reality of that which exists onto blankness and into a new world. The building makes skillful and eloquent reuse of the palazzo court’s verticality in both the soaring temporary exhibition hall and the new music hall, in which performers are placed the ground floor, ringed by three balconies just one row deep. In its materiality the expansion seeks a presence little more than ink lines on paper, its walls of glass and white copper offering containment while the space is left to define itself.

This was, of course, what the client wanted. Bill Egan, a museum trustee and chair of the Gardner’s building committee, said Piano’s design needed to respect the existing building. ”The whole goal here was to make sure that we didn’t change the experience of the palace, and only enhance that,” Egan told the Globe. “I think we’re going to have one of the great small concert halls in the world, but you know what? We’re not going to have as many seats as [music director] Scott Nickrenz would have liked because the size was basically controlled by how big Renzo felt it could be as compared to the palace.” (It’s also worth noting that the new building is 11 feet shorter than the 70-foot high museum, and the all-glass first floor affords visitors clear views through the site.)

Light does play a large part in Piano’s design, but one that is secondary to the new wing’s function as an institutional auxiliary. Glass lines much of the extension’s ground floor, from the entryway and linking corridor to the sloping wall that allows passers-by to see into the greenhouse and artists studios. As Piano told the Globe: ”The sense of lightness is a fundamental element, so it doesn’t compete with the palace. The new building will be more visible, more accessible, more understandable from the outside,” he said.

Piano’s ability to transform and effectively recreate what he sees led to a reasonable approach to this project, appeasing both the client’s desire for change and for stability, but I’m not convinced that such reasonable architecture is ultimately responsible for the institution.  The political and economic situation is already radically different from when planning for the expansion began in 2004, which raises questions as to whether Piano’s model of transitive evolution is actually produces the sustainable architecture for which he is so frequently praised; or if his radicalization of the readily apparent, as a reification of the status-quo, negates the possibility of other more interesting, innovative, and durable solutions. Such questions don’t concern the design in and of itself, as it is presented in this post, but rather the social and financial impact of that design over time. Also, Piano’s design leaves a lot to be desired: the Museum still needs to raise about $40 million to pay for it. The Gardner’s current capital improvements campaign is certainly justifiable, but its timing raises questions about our ethical responsibilities as practitioners.  As architects we should be aware of our role in shaping the life of the institutions we work for beyond merely shaping the spaces they inhabit. What if the Gardner struggles to recoup construction costs or maintain their new larger facility?  Of course capital improvements help build social capital, but what is the value of a building if its construction and maintenance  are a fiscal burden? Then again, who among us has the expertise or humility to tell a well-funded institutional client that their new building might not be unnecessary…?

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Burt, Hill
Location: Boston,  USA
Project Team: Emanuela Baglietto (partner in charge), Toby Stewart, Yugon Kim
Geothermal Design:  Allied Consulting Engineering Services, Inc.
Lighting Design, Security Design: ARUP
Structural and MEP Engineer: Buro Happold
Exterior Wall System Design: Front Inc.
Audio Visual Design: Harvey Marshall Berling Associates
Code Engineer: Hughes Associates, Inc.
Geotechnical Consultant: McPhail Associates, Inc.
Acoustician: Nagata Acoustics
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
Conservation Lab Consultant: Sam Anderson Architects
Cost Consultant: Stuart-Lynn Company
Graphic Design Consultant: 2×4, Inc.

http://www.archdaily.com/153306/isabella-stewart-gardner-expansion-renzo-piano-building-workshop/

July 5, 2011

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center | Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center

Construction of the $803 million Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center will start later this year and conclude in 2015. The building will rise on the Saronikos Kolpos waterfront in southern Athens, within the new 42-acre Stavros Niarchos Park. Piano has folded the park over the structure, lifting the landscape to a height of 32 meters. SFNCC’s submerged interior will include a 1,400-seat theater for the Greek National Opera, as well as a 400-seat experimental performance space. The new building also replaces the 1832 National Library, providing a home for more than two million books.
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Images courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center
Photo © Michel Denancé

As Greece grapples with its ongoing debt crisis, a major cultural project there is moving forward.

Today, Renzo Piano presented his final designs for the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center (SNFCC), a privately funded project slated to rise on the Saronikos Kolpos waterfront in southern Athens. Construction of the $803 million, 85,000-square-meter building will start later this year and conclude in 2015, at which point the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will transfer ownership of the facility to the Greek government.

Early Renderings of SNFCC have circulated since 2009, and the completed design refines major concepts of the initial plan. The building will rise within the new 42-acre Stavros Niarchos Park, in the community of Kallithea. Piano has folded the park over the structure, lifting the landscape to a height of 32 meters.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop was commissioned separately by the Municipality of Kallithea to design the neighboring Kallithea Municipal Sports & Leisure Park, and Piano is orchestrating the sites to complement one another. The Stavros Niarchos Park alone doubles the amount of per-capita parkland in this part of the metropolitan area.

SFNCC’s submerged interior will include a 1,400-seat theater for the Greek National Opera, as well as a smaller, 400-seat performance space. The new building also replaces the 1832 National Library, providing a home for more than two million books. The very top of the complex will emerge from the hilltop and cantilever over its slope; Piano has compared this volume to a contemporary agora.

In addition to its giant green roof, SFNCC will boast other vastly scaled sustainability features. A canal will recycle water on site, filtering it for irrigation uses, and a photovoltaic canopy measuring almost 2.5 acres in area should meet all electricity demand. SFNCC is forecasted to be the first public building in Greece to achieve LEED-Platinum certification. In fact, analysts predict that the completed project will sequester 2,750 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions annually.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation will operate a public exhibition of the final scheme through July 3 at the construction site.

http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2011/06/110629-Stavros-Niarchos-Cultural-Center.asp