Chicago's Art Institute Unveils New Design
CHICAGO -- Located in the city of architectural innovation, the Art Institute of Chicago has unveiled the design for its 264,000-square-foot expansion of the landmark Beaux-Arts building originally completed in 1893. Pritzker Prizewinning architect, Renzo Piano, has designed the $258-million building that will showcase the museum's collections of modern and contemporary art. Scheduled for completion in spring 2009, in which construction began this past June, the museum has raised more than half its campaign goal of $285 million in gifts and pledges. The design consists of Indiana limestone walls, complemented by glass and steel, with an aluminum canopy, which the architect describes as a "flying carpet" that will capture north light and deliver it to the skylights of the pavilion's top-floor galleries. In addition, the northern facade features a glass-curtain wall to emphasize natural light.
"The Art Institute of Chicago, once we combine the new and existing facilities, will be a place where tradition and innovation meet, fulfilling the promise of our founders' vision by creating a museum space that not only addresses the physical needs of our collections, exhibitions and programs, but also carries forward the tradition of architectural foresight and daring unique to our remarkable city," says James Cuno, president and director. "Unquestionably, the new wing will be the most significant new civic building constructed in downtown Chicago. It will be a distinctively forward-looking building, defined by the modern and contemporary collections it will house, as well as by what it will represent for the evolution of downtown Chicago."
A pedestrian bridge will be built to provide a natural link between Michigan Ave., the museum and Millennium Park. …