Archinect

Big Character Poster

andreas viglakis

  • anchor

    1+1=3

    andreas viglakis Nov 23 '10 5
    image

    The Museum of Fine Arts' (MFA) new Arts of Americas wing opened last weekend, and I was lucky enough to spend last Friday morning previewing the extension before it opened to the public. I received the invitation because I spent a day, about a nine months ago, helping them test the handheld interactive audio/video guide they were developing for the new wing. I wish it was exclusive as all that might sound, but it was actually pretty packed. I had to wait in line. No red carpet for me.

    image

    [my way in.]


    The major challenge of a project like this is to create a new identity for an institution without eclipsing its past. This is certainly easier said than done, especially with an old institution in an even older hidebound and traditional city like Boston. I went into this visit expecting to be sort of bored by the muted confidence and competence I have come to expect from Foster+Partners, but I was happy to find that the extension managed to both fit in with and, more importantly, take full advantage of the project’s latent opportunities to actually enhance the existing structure. The extension occupies the eastern courtyard space of Guy Lowell's original 1909 design, and the enormous 63-foot tall glass lobby and cafe space that dominates the scheme allows the visitor to experience the original building in a new way.

    image

    image

    By turning the previously semi-enclosed courtyard space into the glass-enclosed setting for the new wing’s grand hall, the architects use the visual connection created by the lobby's transparency to employ the existing structure as an element in the creation of a wholly new type of space for the museum and city. This new space collects both the old and new into a single setting that allows the museum to look forward without forgetting its past. I quite liked it.

    I was only there for about an hour or so, and I would suggest you also check out Lian's more comprehensive take on the project, if you haven't already.

    --

    image

    [one of two huge baby heads at the new fenway entrance.]

    image

    image

    [very cool model boat room. brought out my inner 13-year old.]

    image
     

     
    • 5 Comments

    • Lian Chikako Chang
      Nov 23, 10 9:15 am

      Great photos! The layering of spaces and materials is great.

      "A wholly new type of space for the museum and city"? That's high praise. But it's true, there's not much to dislike about the project.

      BTW, have you seen Edwin Heathcote's review? I thought this was the best part, even though he doesn't accuse Foster of falling prey to this in the MFA: "This kind of architecture treads a delicate, occasionally ill-defined line between the corporate and the sublime." http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/7a554fb8-f362-11df-b34f-00144feab49a.html#axzz167BKjWUB

      Lian Chikako Chang
      Nov 23, 10 9:16 am

      Great photos! I like the layering of spaces and materials.

      "A wholly new type of space for the museum and city"? That's high praise. But it's true, there's not much to dislike about the project.

      BTW, have you seen Edwin Heathcote's review? I thought this was the best part, even though he doesn't accuse Foster of falling prey to this in the MFA: "This kind of architecture treads a delicate, occasionally ill-defined line between the corporate and the sublime." http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/7a554fb8-f362-11df-b34f-00144feab49a.html#axzz167BKjWUB

      Lian Chikako Chang
      Nov 23, 10 9:21 am

      Have I mentioned how much I dislike this blogging platform?

      David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
      Nov 23, 10 9:30 pm
      the muted confidence and competence I have come to expect from Foster+Partners - wow, I couldn't put it better myself. Great review
      vado retro
      Nov 29, 10 4:24 pm

      If I were to walk to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
      Well, first I'd go to the room where they keep the Cezanne
      But if I had by my side a girlfriend
      Then I could look through the paintings
      I could look right through them
      Because I'd have found something that I understand
      I understand a girlfriend.

      That's a girl friend
      Said G-I-R-L-F-R-E-N
      That's a girlfriend, baby
      That's something that I understand
      Alright

      I walk through the Fenway, I have my heart in my hands
      I understand a girlfriend

      That's a girl friend
      Oh that's a G-I-R-L-F-R-E-N
      Well that's a girlfriend, baby
      That's something that I understand.

      Four o'clock in the afternoon in the Fenway,
      I have my heart in my hands

      I undertand a girlfriend
      That's a girlfriend
      That's G-I-R-L-F-R-E-N
      That's a girlfriend, baby
      Well that's something that I understand.

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:
 

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

  • andreas viglakis

Other blogs affiliated with Harvard University:

Recent Entries


Please wait... loading
Please wait... loading