“Light is one of the most important materials of architecture,” Renzo Piano said at a talk at Harvard University in 2009. Light and transparency—one of the ways he makes light part of his architecture—are primary themes for the suave, celebrated Italian architect.
These notions are evident in his designs for the newly renovated and expanded Harvard Art Museums between Quincy and Prescott streets in Cambridge. On Tuesday the university announced plans to reopen the complex on Nov. 16.
Since the project began with the closing of the institution’s Fogg Museum and Busch-Reisinger museums in 2008, he’s taken the iconic Italian Renaissance-style courtyard at the heart of the 1927 Fogg, which has been protected with listing on the National Register of Historic Places since the 1980s, and extended it upward and crowned it with a futuristic-looking, steel and glass pyramid that floods the five-story-tall space with sun.