The Barnes Foundation's new Philadelphia home will be a gracious, golden-hued temple - modern in style, yet almost classical in its repose - set in a tree-shrouded enclave on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, according to documents that officials submitted to the Philadelphia Art Commission on Friday, but were made public only today.
Acting on the instructions of the city Law Department, the art commission took the wraps off the Barnes' 17-page presentation, which is scheduled to be reviewed at the commission's Wednesday morning meeting.
When the Barnes submitted the renderings and site plan on Friday, it argued that the images of the new museum were "proprietary" and should not be released until the commission meets at 9:30 a.m. But after the city received several requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the law department concluded that the public had the right to review the documents before the commission convened.
While the pictures themselves don't completely explain the logic that underpins the design, created by the New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, they do give viewers a good sense of what the Barnes' new home will look like and how it will fit in with the parkway's other cultural buildings.
It's very clear, for instance, that the galleries containing the Barnes' famous collection of Impressionist art will face the parkway. A separate L-shaped structure wrap around those galleries, completing a U shape. The middle section is topped by a long glass cap that extends well beyond those two structures, toward 21st Street and the neighboring Rodin Museum.
Read tomorrow's Inquirer for more on the Barnes' plans for the Parkway.