Narrative Chronology

The new Evans Way Park lobby entrance of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Exterior view of the new Evans Way Park entrance of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (right).

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the new Evans Way Park entrance of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening view of the faade of the new Evans Way Park entrance of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (top left).

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the new Evans Way Park lobby entrance of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Outdoor art installation “Ailanthus” by Stefano Arienti (right).

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the new Special Exhibitions Gallery in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the façade of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In view is the Special Exhibitions Gallery (top left), The Living Room visitor orientation space (bottom left), and the glass connector (bottom right).

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the new Special Exhibition Gallery in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Living Room visitor orientation space sits below.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Evening exterior view of the new Special Exhibition Gallery in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Living Room visitor orientation space sits below.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Interior view of the new Hostetter Gallery in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The historic palace is visible through the windows in the rear.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Interior view of the new Hostetter Gallery in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The historic palace is visible through the windows to the right.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Interior view of the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with floating bookshelves adorning hallway walls.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The historic palace building is visible through the windows in the rear.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The historic palace building is visible through the windows in the rear.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A cross-section view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A stage level view of Calderwood Hall in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A stage level view of Calderwood Hall in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

View from a balcony of Calderwood Hall in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

An overhead view of Calderwood Hall in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A cross-section view of the new central grand staircase in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of Café G, the new restaurant located in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of Café G, the new restaurant located in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new Living Room visitor orientation space in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The historic palace building is visible through the windows in the rear.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new Living Room visitor orientation space in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Evans Way Park is visible through the windows to the left.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

A view of the new Living Room visitor orientation space in the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Photography © Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Produced by SheridanWorks.

The majority of the public spaces in the new wing feature a bluestone tile floor system, a complement to the bluestone found on the first floor of the palace.

The wooden panel system that makes up the final wall finishes in the performance hall are beginning to be installed at the third balcony level.

The entrance to the historic building through the new wing echoes the original entrance with a feeling of being outdoors, followed by a brick cloister, and then the explosion of sensory overload in the Courtyard. The trees have been placed around the glass connector. Visitors will walk through this corridor that passes under a dense grove of trees. Hornbeams (carpinus caroliniana) and lacebark pines (pinus bungeana) were recently positioned. Stay tuned for more updates to the gardens.

Photography © George Bouret/The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The Gardner Museum will close to the public this winter from November 15, 2011 through January 18, 2012. During this period, the museum will complete the final stages of construction and preservation work—including the restoration of the Tapestry Room and a decade-long upgrade of lighting in the historic galleries. Museum staff will also move a number of visitor-related and administrative functions to the new building and install three opening exhibitions. The closure period will end on Thursday, January 19, 2012 when the museum opens the Renzo Piano wing and refreshed historic galleries to the public.

The new wing’s exterior stair system is almost complete. Glass panels protect the walkways and create a unique visual effect layered in front of the copper cladding.

The new Renzo Piano-designed wing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will open to the public for the first time on Thursday, January 19th, 2012. Beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the Grand Opening in January honors the museum's founder Isabella Gardner, who originally unveiled the Gardner to the public on January 1st, 1903. Among the new wing's inaugural programming highlights are contemporary exhibitions in the new Special Exhibition Gallery (clad in copper panels and visible at top, left of this photo), as well as in the historic building, and an expanded concert series showcasing three new works commissioned in honor of the new Calderwood Performance Hall.

Visit the online press area to read more about the new wing’s Grand Opening and inaugural season programming highlights: http://www.gardnermuseum.org/about/press/new_building_project.

Suspended outriggers will support three levels of exterior walkways and a glass canopy that wrap around the performance hall volume.

Work is being finalized on the special exhibition gallery skylight. The skylight is composed of glass panels that include integral micro-louvers to prevent direct sunlight infiltration and diffuse natural light into the space.

Situated at the top of a temporary floor, construction workers install curved acoustical panels in the performance hall while the opening is prepared for the skylight installation.

The glass atrium lobby at the Museum’s new entrance is a one-story structure situated on Evan’s Way set apart from the rest of the new wing. Together with the adjacent greenhouses, it will create a new vibrant streetscape, animated with people, plants, and a new garden landscape.

Crated pre-patinated copper panels manufactured by GARTNER Steel and Glass and shipped from Gundelfingen, Germany, sit on the construction site waiting to be installed on the façade of the new building.

The removal of the annex (built in 1933) creates an open view between Evans Way and Palace Road. The open area will be the site of the café patio and south garden, in addition to the new glass corridor that connects the historic building and new wing. The south façade of the historic building will receive a facelift, restoring some of its older features.

In the museum’s historic Tapestry Room, work is underway to clean and consolidate the 14th century French fireplace mantle—a process which so far has revealed original pigments and the texture of the carved limestone surface. More Information on the Tapestry Room Project

Tapestry Room, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Photo by T. E. Marr and Son, 1926.

Treatments on various objects, textiles, and other works in the Museum’s 4,000-square-foot Tapestry Room have actively begun. The new wing will enable the Museum to restore the historic Tapestry Room to its archival configuration (pictured here) and as one of the nation’s preeminent galleries for viewing tapestries. Historic photographs (such as this one, from 1926) are regularly used by Conservation and Curatorial staff to inform the historic arrangement of the room, expected to be completed in late Fall 2011. More Information on the Tapestry Room Project

Acoustical panels, designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop together with acoustician Yasuhisu Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, have been installed on the underside of each of the three performance hall balconies. The hall is now full with scaffolding to support a temporary structure for finalizing work on the ceiling and skylight.

With the glazing of the new entrance vestibule, the building is now weather tight. From this new glass atrium entrance, located across from Evans Way Park, visitors will have continuous views to the Museum’s garden landscapes, adjacent greenhouses, and Isabella Gardner’s historic building.

Construction begins on the grand, light-filled staircase situated at the center of the new wing with views towards the historic building.

Repeating panels of pre-patinated copper begin to be installed on the exterior façade of the new wing overlooking Tetlow Street.

Produced by SheridanWorks.

See a glimpse of the construction process in the new performance hall, including a special moment with flutist Paula Robison as she welcomes board members on a site tour, the installation of the balconies, and views through the skylight.

Located off Evans Way Park, the new entrance and lobby area of the Museum will be an all-glass structure surrounded by gardens that connects the new wing to the greenhouse pavilion.

Rising three stories tall with a north wall of glass, the new exhibition gallery will provide views out to the historic museum building, the exterior garden landscape, and the city’s Fenway Cultural District.

Melodic notes soared out through the new performance hall’s concrete shell, as renowned flutist Paula Robison played for Museum trustees and overseers during a tour of the construction site. Structural beams for three balcony levels, which will each feature one row of seats, are beginning to be installed.

The soundproof concrete shell of the performance hall is complete as the construction team continues to infill the steel structure of the Special Exhibition Gallery walls with metal framing. The gallery’s north wall (seen here, at left) will be finished in glass, creating soaring views of the historic building and exterior gardens.

The glass and steel curtain wall system is being developed and fabricated in Germany by GARTNER then shipped to Boston for installation. This unitized system is shop fabricated and field assembled, a process which affords high quality and expeditious installation. (This view shows the curtain wall installation on the greenhouses and artist residences.)

As brickwork continues on site, the custom mortar color and mortar joint require close coordination amongst the architects, masons, and other trades to ensure high quality and strict tolerances.

Video produced by: SheridanWorks.

Over the course of 25 days, 650 steel beams and columns were erected to form the structural core of the new building.

On the occasion of the Topping Out ceremony this June, the Gardner Museum unearthed an article about Isabella Gardner’s own ‘good-luck’ tree, placed high atop the construction of her museum in 1902. Accompanied with a line drawing of the construction site, the article echoed the mystery that surrounded the construction of the historic museum and offers some insights and speculations into the tree's meaning:

“During the past few days the mysterious building which is being erected for Mrs. John L. Gardner in the Back Bay fens… has furnished a brand new surprise for the curious public… From almost the center of the imposing mass of brick, stone and iron that is slowing resolving itself into a palace, an art museum, or something else equally interesting, there rises today the top of a fir tree, its branches waving joyously in the breeze and its tip turned toward the east, as the tips of all well-regulated fir trees do…”

- “Mrs. Jack Gardner’s Tree Surprise: Top of a Fair-Sized Fir Rises From Her Mysterious Building in the Fens” (Boston Daily Globe, Nov 6, 1900)

Signed by members of the design and construction team, Gardner Museum staff, and trustees, the final piece of steel was set into the building on June 22nd marking the completion of the new building's structural core. A ceremonial evergreen tree was placed above the beam as a symbol of growth and good luck.

Renzo Piano walks the construction site and discusses the scale of the Museum’s new lobby with members of the design team and Gardner Museum staff.

Rising the full height of the construction, the shear wall is a continuous concrete structure that provides lateral support to the entire new building and frames the south wall of the soundproof concrete box of the performance hall.

Mrs. Gardner in Venice, Anders Zorn, 1894. Video produced by: SheridanWorks.

Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for the Gardner preserves Isabella Gardner’s rich legacy and secures the future of the museum. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the Gardner Museum's vibrant programs from the perspective of visiting artists, students, and others—including architect Renzo Piano, board chair Barbara Hostetter, and director Anne Hawley and learn why the Campaign for the Gardner, is so important in preserving this museum “forever.”

After 9 months of construction and 3,000 yards of concrete, the underground work for the new building foundation is complete.

The new building officially goes above ground beginning with structural steel for the new greenhouses, an area which will also house artist-in-residence apartments on the second floor.

Video produced by: SheridanWorks.

Over the course of 12 hours, 110 trucks poured concrete to form the base of the foundation of the new building.

The installation of eight geothermal wells, reaching depths of 1,500 feet, will provide optimum energy efficiency for heating and cooling of the new building.

New period-style pendant fixtures and fiber optic lights were installed in the Yellow Room as part of a multi-year, Museum-wide effort to improve the lighting in historic galleries.

A total of 12,000 cubic yards of dirt were removed from the site during excavation over the course of three months.

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