Cleveland Museum Of Art New East Wing
Aug 22 2009, 05:39 PM
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RAFAEL VIÑOLY ARCHITECTS COMPLETE NEW EAST WING OF CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART
New 139,200-square-foot museum wing designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects unites historic Beaux-Arts building and Marcel Breuer addition
All photos © Brad Feinknopf
CLEVELAND - Rafael Viñoly Architects has designed the new East Wing at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), Ohio, which opened to the public on June 27, 2009. Its completion marks the opening of the first of three planned wings.
Rafael Viñoly Architects’ design for the new East Wing forms part of an impressive seven year expansion and renovation project. The 139,200 square foot East Wing connects CMA’s original 1916 Beaux-Arts building and the 1971 addition by Marcel Breuer, creating spectacular new spaces for the presentation and conservation of one of the leading encyclopaedic art collections in the United States.
Double-height special exhibitions galleries and an entrance lobby, located on the Lower Level, serve as the centrepiece of the two-story East Wing, while new galleries for the museum’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century European, modern and contemporary art, as well as the extensive photography collection, are located on Level Two. The new wing also houses expanded offices and workrooms for the conservation department on Level One.
The CMA, one of the largest and most important art institutions in the United States, was built in 1916 by local architects Hubbell & Benes as a grand Greek revival pavilion, created as the focal point of a formal landscape designed by the Olmsted Brothers. However, subsequent additions, including an education wing by Marcel Breuer, obscured the rational plan of the original structure, presenting a disjointed, confusing warren of spaces. In 2001, Rafael Viñoly Architects won the commission to resolve these elements with an expansion and renovation program, creating a coherent sequence of galleries that accommodates projected growth and unifies disparate architectural vocabularies into a singular composition.
Rafael Viñoly Architects’ plan restores focus to the original 1916 building, conceiving it as a “jewel” set within a continuous ring of expansion space that includes the renovated Breuer building. Other later additions are being demolished to make way for a vast, indoor, sunlit piazza, topped by a gently curving canopy of glass and steel, around which the entire museum will be organized. The naturally lit piazza with its attractive landscaping will naturally draw visitors into the center of the museum complex, a central meeting place as well as an event space for large functions.
New gallery wings to the east and west enclose the piazza and taper toward the 1916 building, where they culminate in fully transparent, glazed galleries and pedestrian bridges that permit unobstructed views of the sides of the historic pavilion. The stone cladding of the new gallery wings consists of alternate bands of granite and marble that modulate the two very different aesthetics of the 1916 and Breuer buildings. In this manner, the distinctions between “modern” and “historic” are preserved, yet integrated into a cohesive whole.
A two-phase construction process accommodates the museum’s fundraising schedule and allows continued operation (on a reduced basis) while the project is underway. The project is due to be completed in 2012.
About Rafael Viñoly Architects
Rafael Viñoly Architects PC is a critically acclaimed international practice headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Los Angeles. Founded in 1983, and now employing over 170 architects and support staff, the firm provides comprehensive services in architecture, master planning, and interior design for new facilities and renovations.
Rafael Viñoly, the firm’s principal, has practiced architecture for forty-five years in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. His work has been recognized in the world’s leading design publications and by numerous prestigious awards. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a member of the Japan Institute of Architects.
Viñoly has completed many critically acclaimed civic, private, and institutional projects including the Kimmel Centre for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Centre, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Curve theatre in Leicester, UK and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, all resulting in popular, well used civic gathering spaces for their respective communities.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes over 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts, and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter. The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of nearly 25,000 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations, and businesses in Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helped fund this project with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
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