Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing

Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing, Chicago, Illinois, Renzo Piano
Construction year: 2009
Address: 111 South Michigan Avenue | CHICAGO-ILLINOIS | United States
Latitude/Longitude: 41.8805, -87.6217

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the Modern Wing provides a new home for the museum’s collection of 20th – and 21st-century art. Now a decade in the making, this 264,000 square-foot building makes the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the United States. The building houses the museum’s world-renowned collections of modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography. The extraordinary scope and quality of these collections are a revelation; each displayed more comprehensively than ever before. The Modern Wing allows the Art Institute to take its rightful place as one of the worlds great collections of modern and contemporary art.

Playing off his former successful museum designs across the world, Pianos newest design is both responsive and elegant. Its location, just south of Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion, is turning this former railroad yard into Chicago’s central gathering space. Similar to some of his previous manipulations of light, Piano covered the new wing with a “flying carpet” of aluminum blades, that seemingly float above the limestone below. Calibrated for Chicago’s latitude, they allow northern light to come through the vast skylights forming the wings third-floor ceiling. Combined with a floor to ceiling glass wall along the north façade, the new addition stands in austere contrast to the traditional windowless building next door.

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