Work set to begin on $5.8 million Barnes addition

The Barnes Foundation will begin construction this month on a 4

The Barnes Foundation will begin construction this month on a 4

The Barnes Foundation made up for years of controversy surrounding its 2012 move to downtown Philadelphia by building what is almost unanimously considered an architectural marvel to hold its world-renowned collection of impressionist art.

That was five years ago. Now, the same architects — Tod Williams and Billie Tsien — have designed a 4,000-square-foot addition with construction set to begin Monday. The Garden Pavilion design will be contiguous with the overall architecture of the landmark building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The pavilion, an extension of the building’s restaurant, will accommodate more food service and redirect groups when the building gets crowded.

The foundation always intended to build something like this, said Peg Zminda, Barnes chief operation and financial officer.

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“We’ve always had an idea to do an adjacent facility in the restaurant and garden, but we weren’t sure when we first built the building exactly what that needed to look like,” said Zminda. “Frankly, as our programming has evolved, what we thought we needed when we first opened the building has changed.”

The building lacks a space for educational programming while the galleries are open to general ticketholders, she said.

The $5.8 million addition — expected to open this summer — will add flexibility to its educational programs.

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