The Harvard Art Museums, a combination of the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler Museums (hence the awkward plural), have been closed for six years while they completed a new Renzo Piano-designed renovation and addition to house all three of them in one space. I think the new facility is a disaster.
The street presence of the new building is obnoxious – it's essentially a bleak and ponderous bunker that rudely clashes with the surrounding buildings.
|Renzo Piano's new addition to the Harvard Museums, view from Prescott Street.|
|View from a gallery of the Harvard Museums of the entry ramp of Le Corbusier's Carpenter Center.|
|Entrance to the Harvard Art Museums|
|Courtyard of the original Fogg Museum with its new glass-covered atrium.|
The top two floors are flooded with natural light and are used for a conservation lab (see below) and an art study center (essentially classrooms where they bring in actual art objects). Additional classrooms, a lecture hall and a materials lab are on the lower level (below ground). So three of the six levels are used for other things besides the display of art, and a towering atrium takes up about 20% of the remaining space. And they claim that sadly they don't have enough room to display more of their 250,000 piece collection.
Next post: The New Harvard Art Museums Day 2 where I get over my disappointment and enjoy their great collection.