The new 93,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is described as a “gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery.” Boasting a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the building is a breathtaking addition to the Parkway Museum District.
The four-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds reference the Barnes Arboretum in Merion, which will reopen in the late summer of 2012. In addition, the building boasts a number of sustainable features, including a green roof and permeable surfaces that allow for rain and grey water re-use.
But the true draw is the Barnes Collection featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso.
The 12,000-square-foot gallery preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the original Merion location. The priceless works are symmetrically arranged according to size, and often paired with artifacts and furniture (think: African sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, antique Chinese paintings) organized around themes and formal elements. The scheme is the physical manifestation of the teachings of the man who collected the works, Albert C. Barnes. Click here for more information.