Barnes Announces Shortlist for New Building

April 27, 2007

By David Sokol

Less than two months after issuing a request for qualifications, as reported on March 19, the Barnes Foundation today revealed its shortlist of architects for a new museum and educational facility on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The six architects include Tadao Ando, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Kengo Kuma, Rafael Moneo, Thom Mayne/Morphosis, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Photo: Courtesy The Barnes Foundation
The existing Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pennsylvania
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In what has been a long and contentious process, the announcement is another small step forward as the foundation moves one of the world’s best collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings from its 10,000-square-foot home in the Philadelphia suburb of Merion, Pennsylvania. The new facility will measure 120,000 square feet, and will not be hamstrung by a Merion ordinance that permits only 1,200 museum visitors weekly. In response to protests that the new setting would spell the end of namesake Albert C. Barnes’s subversive exhibition display techniques—which his will dictated must be left untouched—the new space’s galleries will replicate the scale, proportion, and configuration of its predecessor. The new building will also include largely expanded education facilities, a gallery for special exhibitions, and support spaces for conservation, events programming, retail, and administration.

The foundation’s building committee will now deliberate by visiting buildinggs designed by each of the six firms. Pritzker Architecture Prize executive director Martha Thome, with University of Pennsylvania professor Gary Hack and RECORD deputy editor Suzanne Stephens, are advising the committee. A final selection is tentatively scheduled for late summer.


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