Architecturally, the project echoes themes explored in the Reichstag and the Great Court at the British Museum, combining elements of old and new and strengthening links with the community by making the building more open and accessible. At the core of the masterplan for the museum is the restoration of the logic of its Beaux-Arts plan, devised by the architect Guy Lowell.
The masterplan reinstates the original formal axis of the Museum and opens it up to the Back Bay Fens and the linear park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1877. The MFA’s new wing creates 53 new galleries and houses the Art of the Americas collections, one of the premier assemblages of American art.
Foster + Partners, working with CBT/Childs Bertman Tseckares of Boston, have carefully restored and augmented one of the world’s finest art museums to transform the experience for visitors, opening up the building to the community and consolidating the Museum’s five great collections into a more cohesive and understandable whole.
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. 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.”