Critically acclaimed international practice Rafael Vinoly Architects recently announced their addition to the Cleveland Musuem of Art (CMA) in Ohio. The museum is currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project. RVA’s 139,200 sq foot East Wing addition, which unites the historic 1916 Beaux-Arts building and the 1971 Marcel Breuer addition, is the first of three planned wings.
More about the expansion after the break.
The CMA contains one of the largest collections of art in the United States. Over the years, due to the musuem’s growing collection, the 1916 structure has undergone several expansions. Each new addition has added a new identity to the structure rather than working with the original Greek revival pavilion style. When RVA won the commission to design the new wing, the architects needed “to resolve these elements with an expansion and renovation program, creating a coherent sequence of galleries that accommodates projected growth and unifies disparate architectural vocabularies into a singular composition.”
Rather than create even more disjointed spaces, the addition aims to focus the attention back on the original 1916 building by reorganizing the entire museum. An indoor piazza topped by a gently curving glass and steel canopy will serve as a central meeting space that draws visitors into the complex. From there, new gallery wings to the east and west will border the piazza and taper toward the 1916 building. The fully transparent galleries offer unobstructed views of the sides of the historic pavilion and slowly, the RVA addition leads the users to the “real jem”, the original building.
Stone cladding of alternate bands of granite and marble illustrate the differing styles of the 1916 original and later Breuer buildings. “In this manner, the distinctions between “modern” and “historic” are preserved, yet integrated into a cohesive whole” explained RVA.
By reorganizing the museum, RVA has expanded the gallery space while not adding yet another style to the building. Connecting the new with the old, RVA’s wing creates one unified space that connects the once divided areas.
Photo Credit Brad Feinknopf