Barnes’ plan tries to keep rural setting

    Architectural drawings of the new Barnes Museum to be built on the Parkway in Philadelphia have been submitted to the city arts commission. The Barnes Foundation will ask the commission to approve the plans Wednesday. The primary drawings are cause for concern among area architects.

    Architectural drawings of the new Barnes Museum to be built on the Parkway in Philadelphia have been submitted to the city arts commission. The Barnes Foundation will ask the commission to approve the plans Wednesday. The primary drawings are cause for concern among area architects.

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    [audio: 091006pcbarnes.mp3]

    The sandstone-colored building won’t open onto the Parkway. Instead, the main entrance will be on the opposite side, and a thick wall of trees buffers the museum from the Parkway. Well-known Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi says it will be difficult to replicate the rural environment of the original Lower Merion site.

    Venturi: Here they’re putting it in a park environment, but it is in the center of the city along the great axis of the parkway. So I don’t think it’s an impossible situation, but I don’t think it will be easy to deal with.

    A contingent of people who would have liked to see the museum stay in Lower Merion contend that Albert Barnes’ eccentric vision of art, architecture, and gardens cannot be recreated downtown. Some urban designers worry the new plans miss an opportunity to encourage foot traffic along the Parkway.

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