New wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Renovation and expansion Boston / United States / 2012

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - New Wing (eng - ita) ENG - The design of the Museum’s new wing incorporates glass and natural light to create an open and welcoming entrance, as well as to provide uninterrupted views of the historic building and gardens. The building features four volumes clad in green pre-patinated copper and red brick that appear to “float” above the transparent first floor. Key features of the new wing are a cube-shaped performance hall and an adjustable height special exhibition gallery, which are the Museum’s first purpose-built spaces to accommodate such functions. Visitors enter the Museum through a new entrance facing Evans Way Park into the glass-enclosed Bekenstein Family Lobby. A new space, named the Richard E. Floor Living Room, welcomes the visitor in an intimate domestic-like setting where hosts, books, and touch screen monitors on easels offer information about Isabella Stewart Gardner, the collection and its unique installation, and the Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Program. Calderwood Hall, the Museum’s new performance hall, is the largest space in the new wing at 6,000 square feet, and is designed in collaboration with acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics. With 300 seats configured in three balcony levels surrounding the central performing area on all four sides, the hall preserves the intimate experience that has long characterized the Gardner Museum’s music program. The Special Exhibition Gallery, which will present three major exhibitions each year, is a flexible space featuring a retractable ceiling and a full wall of windows overlooking the historic Museum and the Monks Garden. The addition also houses working greenhouses, a landscape classroom and expanded outdoor garden spaces; two artist apartments; conservation labs; the Claire and John Bertucci Education Studio, which will offer hands-on art workshops for students and families; a new store, called Gift at the Gardner; and a new restaurant, Café G, with indoor and seasonal outdoor seating. “Isabella Gardner’s Palace, with its treasured collection and inimitable installations, its verdant courtyard and mesmerizing corridors, will always be the focus of the Museum, but it could only remain so with the construction of a companion building. With housing for resident scholars and artists, labs for the conservation of the collection, and room for public assembly and school partners, the new wing frees up the historic building to fulfill its historic purpose,” added Hawley. 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, waterefficient landscaping techniques, and the use of local and regional materials, which reduces the environmental impact associated with transport. Restoration of the Palace Since 1990, the Gardner Museum has completed significant restoration work on the historic palace building to stabilize its structure and help accommodate increased programming and attendance. Projects have included replacing the skylight over the courtyard with thermal pane glass and installing a climate-control system. Construction of the extension complements preservation work that is ongoing within the historic building, including a decade-long lighting project to protect sensitive artwork and improve the visitor experience. A centerpiece of the Museum preservation project is the Tapestry Room, which has been restored to its original glory after being used for 85 years as a temporary concert hall. As the Museum’s world-class concerts will now take place in the new wing’s Calderwood Hall, the Tapestry Room has been returned to its former configuration to be experienced as a grand tapestry hall. Conservation treatment of the space included the cleaning of its Mercer-tiled floors, restoration of the French medieval stone fireplace, reinstallation of select art and furniture objects, replacement of historic textiles with reproductions, and new lighting. Exhibitions and Programming The design of the new wing fulfills the programmatic demands of the Museum, encompassing five curatorial areas of Landscape, Scholarship, Education, Contemporary Art, and Music. Each derives from areas of passion and exploration expressed by Isabella Gardner during the early years of the Museum. The Gardner will open its new wing with exhibitions by contemporary artists, all of whom have roots in the Museum’s Artist-in-Residence program, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. The inaugural show in the new Special Exhibition Gallery will be Tapestry (Radio On): New Work by Victoria Morton (on view through May 28), the first solo exhibition in an American museum by the Scottish painter and sculptor. Morton invites viewers to closely examine densely detailed canvases and encounter objects that expand the space of paintings. Points of View: 20 Years of Artists-in-Residence at the Gardner, a complementary exhibition on view through August 13 in the introductory space of the new gallery, will further celebrate the Artist-in-Residence program by presenting a selection of works by past participants, as well as objects from the collection and artists’ correspondence. The work of Los Angeles-based photographer Luisa Lambri will be featured in Portrait, an artistic meditation on the Gardner Museum’s unique spaces, presented in a new gallery space in the former entrance vestibule of the historic building through October 15. Also on view at the opening is a site-specific outdoor work—a drawing of a bright red tree titled Ailanthus, by Italian artist Stefano Arienti. The first work to be installed on a new 34-foot-high by 16-footwide space on the façade of the new wing, it will be on view through 2012. The Gardner’s celebrated music program will relocate to Calderwood Hall and offer expanded programming in chamber music, new music, and jazz. From January through June 2012, the Sunday Concert Series will feature 18 concerts, the monthly Jazz at the Gardner series will continue, and Avant Gardner will extend its cutting-edge classical music programming into a monthly series. Calderwood Hall also will host many of the Museum’s public programs, including talks by leading figures in the field of landscape design, and lectures about collection highlights. FUNDING ▪ The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Extension and Preservation Project is funded through a variety of sources, including private gifts, foundation and corporate support, and tax-exempt bonds. The Museum launched the public phase of its $180 million Campaign for the Gardner in May 2010, and has less than 20% left to raise as of January 2012. The total cost of the new wing is $114 million. In addition, the Campaign includes funds for endowment, preservation work on the collection, and the restoration of historic galleries. ITA - L'Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum di Boston ha inaugurato da pochi giorni i nuovi spazi espositivi firmati dal Renzo Piano Building Workshop. L'elegante ampliamento, rivestito di vetro e pannelli di rame ossidato (purtoppo in maniera tanto uniforme da sembrare tinteggiati) si innesta con leggerrezza all'edificio esistente. La nuova ala è costituita da quattro volumi distinti, collegati tra loro da passaggi vetrati, serre e, in verticale, da una scala a tre rampe, di gusto e proporzioni quasi rinascimentali. All'interno, il ritmo degli spazi espositivi è interrotto dalla grande sala cubica, di 10 m di lato, che amplia non poco le possibilità espositive del museo, e soprattutto dal virtuosismo di una sala per concerti verticale, con gli spettatori disposti sulle balconate, come in un moderno teatro shakesperiano. Con la nuova ala, di ben 6500 m2, il museo ha visto più che raddoppiata la superficie a disposizione della sua ricca collezione. Questo ha avuto l'immediato effetto positivo di liberare gli spazi del museo originale, un palazzotto di inizio secolo, dimora della rispettata signora bostoniana Isabella Stewart Gardner che qui aveva accumulato la sua multiforme ma importantissima collezione. Ai nostri occhi europei questo edificio, eclettico incocio di gusto gotico e rinascimentale, può apparire poco più di una curiosa manifestazione della borghesia americana. L’istituzione che rappresenta invece è per i bostoniani un’icona leggendaria e non c'è da stupirsi che il progetto di Piano abbia incontrato non pochi ostacoli nella sua realizzazione. In un paese che, tradizionalmente, non offre molta resistenza al cambiamento o non si scompone nel sacrificare icone del suo passato per fare posto al nuovo, sono senz'altro singolari le resistenze nel sacrificare la garden house e altri elementi minori del giardino. Forse gli americani stanno inizando a comprendere l'importanza di conservare, oltre alla forma, anche l'essenza ed il contesto originale delle loro opere... O forse stanno solo scoprendo la nostalgia.
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    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - New Wing (eng - ita) ENG - The design of the Museum’s new wing incorporates glass and natural light to create an open and welcoming entrance, as well as to provide uninterrupted views of the historic building and gardens. The building features four volumes clad in green pre-patinated copper and red brick that appear to “float” above the transparent first floor. Key features of the new wing are a cube-shaped performance hall and an adjustable height special...

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