The architecture critics are having their say about the new building, with some detractors and some big fans. The New York Times has a wonderfully entertaining and informative multi-media feature about the building’s transformation from Edward Durell Stoneâ€™s Gallery of Modern Art, which was built in 1964 to house Huntington Hartfordâ€™s art collection. “The galleries weren’t elegant, they were snazzy – walnut panels, parquet floors, bronze fixtures and crimson carpeting,” says the Times narrator about the old gallery space. Love that description, but my favourite part is where the narrator cites architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s description of the old building as “a factory-made Venetian palazzo on lollipops!”
Personally, I love the way Allied Works Architecture, led by Brad Cloepfil, took a bulky oddity of a building and turned it into a shimmering, elegant edifice. Pearlescent ceramic tiles cover the exterior, taking on different sheens as the light changes.
The excisions into the exterior allow light to flood into the galleries and apparently the transparent glass bands traverse the building internally as well.
It’s a building within a building. The architects removed the marble cladding of the old building (bottom left picture, below), but they kept the famous “lollipop” arcades on the ground floor as a reference to the building’s past, which are only visible from the interior (above left picture).
I can’t wait to experience the building from the inside. More about that at a later date.