Text description provided by the architects. The newly constructed wing for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, opens to the public today with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony accompanied by the City of Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Designed to preserve the 1902 historic building, the 70,000 square-foot addition will offer purpose-built spaces for concerts, exhibitions and classes, along with enhanced visitor amenities. The museum will also be kicking off an inaugural season of exhibitions, performances and events that will highlight the buildings wide range of programming.
“This new wing is an extraordinarily elegant workshop, a bustling counterpoint to the historic building’s serenity. Here, the thinking and the work of the Museum is performed, so that the Palace, which had been put to uses for which it was not equipped, can once again give visitors the experience Isabella Stewart Gardner intended: a personal confrontation with art,” said Anne Hawley, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the Museum.
Natural light floods the interior, creating an open and welcoming entrance for visitors as they enjoy uninterrupted views of the original building and gardens. The building features four volumes clad in green pre-patinated copper and red brick that “float” above the transparent first floor.
Key features include a 300-seat performance hall, an adjustable height special exhibition gallery, a new restaurant, gift shop, landscape classroom, expanded outdoor garden spaces, two artist apartments, conservation labs and a hands on art workshop.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is seeking LEED gold certification by the United States Green Building Council. Primary components of the sustainable design are a geothermal well system, daylight harvesting, water efficient landscaping techniques, and the use of local and regional materials, which reduces the environmental impact associated with transport.