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Foster’s £225 million overhauled Boston museum opens

[FIRST LOOK] The wraps are off Foster + Partners’ new wing and courtyard for the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, US

The huge redevelopment reinstates the original formal axis of the museum, opening it up to the city’s famous Back Bay Fens parkland and creating 53 new galleries.

Working with local outfit CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares, the practice has restored and expanded the 1870 Guy Lowell-designed landmark, consolidating the Museum’s five great collections ‘into a more cohesive and understandable whole’.

The scheme included reintroducing the main southern entrance in Huntington Avenue, which opens onto the Avenue of the Arts, and reopening the State Street Corporation Fenway Entrance to the north.

The project is being hailed as Foster + Partners’ first complete gallery wing and fit out’ scheme.

Norman Foster said: ‘The MFA is more than a great cultural institution – it is the catalyst for the rejuvenation of an entire neighbourhood in Boston.

Over time the Museum had lost its connection to the Back Bay Fens and the beautiful landscape of Frederick Law Olmsted’s ‘Emerald Necklace’. In restoring Lowell’s original plan and in opening up and reasserting the grand Fenway entrance, we have rediscovered this link.

He added: ‘At the same time, we have drawn the landscape deep into the heart of the building and along Huntington Avenue. The result is a more legible museum that will create new connections between the park, the Museum and the local community.’

Other architects to have worked at the museum include I M Pei who completed the West Wing extension in 1981.

Previous story (28.07.10)

Fosters set to open US art museum wing

[FIRST LOOK] Foster + Partners’ new wing and courtyard for the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, US, will open to the public in November

The £225 million project included the construction of a new Art of the America’s wing and a courtyard dedicated to philanthropists Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro.

Doubling the number of works on display at the museum the design increases floor space by a third, adding a modernist aesthetic to the museum’s 1909 Beaux Arts buildings.  

Malcolm Rogers, director of the museum, said: ‘[We] chose to collaborate with Foster + Partners because of the firm’s unparalleled reputation for space planning and its deep understanding of how to best present the museum’s great works of art.’

Spencer de Grey, senior partner at the practice, said: ‘Learning from the Museum’s original master plan we have re-addressed the balance of the Museum, creating contemporary spaces for the display of the collection and a new heart for the MFA encapsulated in glass.’  

In celebration of the opening the museum is hosting a free community event.


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