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gray-stained walls of wood siding. As Piano’s first commission in the U.S., he succeeded in constructing a place of meaningful social and cultural exchange built into the texture of a city, much like Beaubourg in Paris had a decade earlier. Piano offered his audience an annotated look at more recent work, including two new museums in Switzerland, the Beyeler Foundation and the Zentrum Paul Klee. RPBW has completed two other critically acclaimed expansion projects in the U.S.—the High Museum in Atlanta (Richard Meier, 1983) and the Morgan Library (McKim, Mead and White, 1906) in New York. Currently under construction is the Modern Wing for the Art Institute of Chicago, which will connect the museum to the celebrated Millennium Park. Also in progress are expansion projects for the Whitney Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angles County Museum of Art, along with a new building for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Piano closed his talk by stating that the commission for the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, “is a very seminal job for me.” Piano had appren-
Piano Hired to Design Kimbell Addition w o r t h The Kimbell Art Foundation announced in April that Renzo Piano will design an addition to the Kimbell Art Museum. The addition will comprise a separate building located across the street from the internationally renowned museum designed by Louis Kahn, for whom Piano worked as a young man. Piano seemed predestined for the task, having worked in the office of Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia during the late 1960s.
top photo by Hickey-robertson; bottom photo courtesy the kimbell
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Piano’s design came from listening carefully to his client, Dominique deMenil, who died in 1998.
ticed for Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia. He was pleased that the project would bring him back to Texas where he also designed the Cy Twombly Gallery (1995), a neighbor of the Menil Collection, and more recently the Nasher Sculpture
Center (2003) in Dallas. Piano concluded his lecture with a remark about the Kimbell commission: “I am not going to say what we are going to do for the reason that I don’t know.”
“No architect could refuse such a commission,” Piano said at the time of the announcement. “It is an awesome challenge, but an attractive one, to join hands over time with the master architect who created the Kimbell. It is all the more satisfying as an undertaking, given my association with Lou Kahn and my deep respect for him and his work.” Dr. Timothy Potts, director of the Kimbell Art Museum, said the addition will solve a long-standing problem by providing additional gallery space. “The Kimbell has long struggled
with the problem of having to relegate most of its permanent collection to storage when presenting major visiting exhibitions,” Potts said. “With this new building we will be able to keep the Kimbell’s renowned collections fully accessible year-round, while also presenting a varied program of international exhibitions. Renzo Piano has created some of the most beautiful gallery spaces of our time and will no doubt bring to the Kimbell project his signature sensitivity to materials, natural light, and proportion in creating spaces that allow great works of art to scintillate.” In making the announcement, Kay Fortson, president of the Kimbell Art Foundation said, “I am thrilled that Renzo Piano has agreed to design our new building, which will represent the most significant enhancement to the Kimbell since its opening in 1972. The Louis Kahn building has become one of the icons of modern architecture, and I have every confidence that Mr. Piano will create a companion piece that complements and reinforces Kahn’s great achievement.”
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Shown at bottom right, the site is located adjacent to the Kimbell, at left, and across from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Tadao Ando, 2002), at top right.
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