Architectural design of new Barnes museum gets initial approval

    The Philadelphia Art Commission approved preliminary designs for the new Barnes Museum to be built along the Parkway. The New York-based architects were in town presenting the main features of the building’s exterior and the surrounding gardens.

    The Philadelphia Art Commission approved preliminary designs for the new Barnes Museum to be built along the Parkway. The New York-based architects were in town presenting the main features of the building’s exterior and the surrounding gardens.

    Artist's rendering of the new Barnes Museum on the Parkway
    Artist's rendering of the new Barnes Museum on the Parkway

    The Barnes Foundation says the design tries to recreate the experience of the original site in suburban Lower Merion.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091007pcbarnes.mp3]

    The landscaping around the museum was the star of the show during the presentation to the Arts Commission as the architects outlined their plan to force foot-traffic through the gardens in order to get to the entrance.

    The building will be slightly higher than the gardens, so that the views will be of trees rather than traffic.

    Opponents to the move from the suburbs to downtown had a difficult time staying focused on the design plans. Among their more salient points was the boxy pattern of the walls looked like a Home Depot.

    Art Commission Chairman Moe Brooker says the walls reflect the pattern of African Kente cloth.

    Brooker: What is not known is that Albert Barnes had the most amazing African Sculpture collection the world. So it’s not Home Depot, it’s based on a source that is part of his concept and part of his collection.

    The groundbreaking will happen in early November and is expected to open in 2012.

    Exterior of the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, PA
    Exterior of the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, PA

    The unusual of artwork in the Barnes Foundation's current home
    The unusual of arrangement artwork in the Barnes Foundation's current home

    Interior hallway of the current home of the Barnes collection
    Interior hallway of the current home of the Barnes collection

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