Jul 14, 2010

Museum Architecture + Renzo Piano

I don't have a ton of knowledge of architecture, but I do try and stay current on who is building interesting things, especially who is building new and interesting museums!
Seems like to be chosen to design a museum building you have to be a special combination of artist & architect in you.  Someone that has this unique combination and has built a significant amount of museum buildings in the last 15 years, is Renzo Piano.  His architecture doesn't always amaze me initially but it seems to be something like an onion; the more you view  it, experience it, walk around inside, see different sides of it, the more you see how truly genius it is. 
As I researched Renzo Piano's work, I realized that I've seen it a lot more of it then I thought over the years.When I visited Atlanta in 2007, and saw the expansion of the High Museum, I was seeing his architecture.  Their website says this about his 3 building addition to their space: "Often called the "master of light," Piano's sculpturally inspired buildings meld seamlessly with the High's existing light-filled Richard Meier structure.  Piano's design of the new Wieland Pavilion and the Anne Cox Chambers Wing features a special roof system of 1,000 light scoops that capture northern light and filter it into the skyway galleries."  Without knowing this roof was design by Piano especially to let natural light into the galleries, I took this picture.  I remember being completely enthralled by a roof that was so unique.    
 My favorite is his design of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.  Home to a great host of modern and contemporary art.   

I can see why much of Paris hated it at first, it can look like just an unfinished building.  But when you experience it, it has its own unique beauty.  Its functional, beautiful and unlike any other building I've been in.  Not to mention riding on the escalators that are outside the building affords you beautiful views of Paris.  I took these shots while on the roof.
He's also the genius behind the new modern wing at the Art Institute, which I've talked about before.  Here's my favorite view, up the bridge (makes me nervous to walk on, am I the only one!?). 
But what really brought me to writing this post is because I read recently that the Whitney museum is expanding!  And the lucky winner, chosen to build a new building is...can you guess?  Renzo Piano!
The website Dexigner says about his new building "Mr. Piano's design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form-one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and railway while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence."  Read the whole article here.  
Once in a while, when I forget how bad I am at math, I think I'd love to be an architect.  To think through the ways you want people to fell when they enter the space, what amazing new, innovative materials you'd like to use and more.  Marvelous.  Enjoy the sketches, more info about the new building going up in New York City's meat packing district here!

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