Vision

I am often asked, “why a new building for the Gardner?” When Isabella Gardner opened her doors to the public on New Years’ Night 1903, she presented a new context for art in America by creating a museum where visitors experienced music, the beauty of gardens, and historic and contemporary art, all in the highly personal setting of her courtyard palace...
Preservation is at the heart of the museum’s plans for a new extension, and work is currently underway to restore the beloved Tapestry Room to its original glory as one of the nation’s great tapestry halls. Learn more about ways the new wing is enabling restoration of the 4,000-square-foot Tapestry Room—and Isabella Gardner’s vision.
How can the architecture of an art museum facilitate learning, engage visitors, and inspire artists? The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been notable for its exceptional architecture—a singular vision of various styles and tastes. In the Piano-designed building, much has been said about its transparency (on the first floor, views into the greenhouse work areas, and studio). By design, this transparency will expand and enhance education...
When an institution is housed in an older building that is itself a distinguished work of architecture, there’s a special burden on the owner to maintain that level of excellence. The Gardner has stepped up to the plate on this issue by commissioning a building from Renzo Piano, acknowledged as one of the leading world architects of our time, a winner of the Pritzker Prize...
On January 21, 2010—after unveiling his designs for the Gardner Museum to the public—architect Renzo Piano took a moment to reflect on the Museum, the new wing, and on Isabella Gardner (whom he affectionately refers to as “that lady with the firm conviction that art can change the world”). In the following statement Mr. Piano describes in his own words how he approached the designs for the new wing and specifically the performance hall and special exhibition gallery.
Pilings and scaffolding rise from the muddy earth near the Fens in Boston. The architect struggles to meet his client’s specific demands as the carefully designed museum takes shape in the narrow lot. This scene could be today, as the new wing of the Gardner Museum designed by Renzo Piano takes shape behind the century-old original building. But in fact it is 1900...

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