Taking cues from the designs of Louis Kahn, Carlo Scarpa, and Edward Larrabee Barnes—masters of the late-Modern museum—the new Barnes shows its architects (who are best known for their modestly sized, now closed American Folk Art Museum in New York City) working at a high level. Most impressive of all is the thoughtful sense of procession that carries visitors through the $150 million complex, first from the outside in and then from the museum’s airy common spaces almost inexorably toward the smaller-scaled galleries.
Barnes Foundation 1: At the west end of the Barnes, the light canopy cantilevers over a terrace. A limestone rainscreen is attached to the steel-framed gallery building (at right) and a poured concrete pavilion wing.
Barnes Foundation 2: At the southeast end, OLIN’s landscaping eases the transition from the Parkway to the main entrance in the back.
Barnes Foundation 3: On the first floor of the wing containing the Barnes collection, the main hall’s coves feature Henri Matisse’s “The Dance” murals. Williams and Tsien kept the proportions, scale, and placement of the installation intact, redesigning the cornices and moldings, lighting, and window coverings. The floor is Tennessee marble. This main gallery is oriented to the Parkway; visitors can view the murals from the balcony.
Barnes Foundation 4: The Gallery wing is entered from the Light Court. A small enclosed garden divides the block of re-created Barnes galleries.
Barnes Foundation 5: The Light Court separates the Gallery wing for the collection from the L-shaped Pavilion wing for temporary exhibitions and ancillary spaces. The angled light canopy is sheathed in seamless acoustic plaster; the floor is recycled ipé.
Barnes Foundation 6: This entrance, on the north facade, leads into the L-shaped Pavilion wing that holds temporary exhibition rooms and ancillary spaces. (Green roofs and photovoltaic panels should help qualify the building for a LEED Platinum rating.)
Project Location Philadelphia PA USA
Project Type: Museum
Other projects by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects