renzo piano: harvard art museums renovation underway


‘harvard art museums’ by renzo piano, boston, massachusetts, USA

images courtesy of harvard art museum / renzo piano building workshop

renzo piano‘s renovation of harvard art museums is well underway. the project aims to unify the university’s three distinct art museums under one glazed roof. the renowned fogg museum, modeled after a 15th century italian villa, the busch-reisinger, the only museum in north america exclusively dedicated to the study of art from german-speaking countries, and the arthur m. sackler museum, the james stirling- designed collection of asian art, will all be joined in an effort to keep harvard at the forefront of multidisciplinary research and study in visual art, history and design. combined with interiors by wHY architecture, the impressive glass roof will enclose the historic calderwood courtyard and admit a generous amount of natural light. dubbed the ‘light-machine’ by the architect, the transparent covering opens up the symbolic heart of the museum and its ground floor arcades while continuing to preserve the travertine facades, so carefully modeled after canon’s house of the church of san biagio in montepulciano, italy. the massive renovation will include extra gallery space on the second and third levels; expanded study centers, classrooms and offices on the  fourth level; and a bright, new home for the straus center for conservation and technical studies on the top levels. the center is the oldestfine arts conservation treatment, training and research facility in the unites states. the project has been challenging given the crucial set of programs already enlivening the architecture, the existing structures’ position on the national register of historic places and a particularly limited site flanked by le corbusier’s only north american building. the addition is a balanced and elegant graft on the already rich new england edifices. the museum is set to open in fall 2014.



the exterior in progress from the corner of broadway and atkinson 



an early construction view of the roof 






(left): the joinery of the roof

image © justin lee

(right): side metalwork being installed 

image © peter atkinso





‘harvard art museums’ by renzo piano, boston, massachusetts, USA


image © peter atkinson



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