“First Look Inside Expanded Harvard Art Museums”

“First Look Inside Expanded Harvard Art Museums”

by Greg Cook via “The Artery

“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.

“Transparency is still a very important quality of urban life,” he said at that Harvard talk. “Urbanity comes because the buildings talk to the street.”

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.

Piano first made his mark as a post-modern punk with his designs for Paris’s Pompidou Centre in the 1970s, which seemed to expose all the guts of the museum  . . . .”

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