An Expansion Gives New Life to an Old Box

Nicolai Ouroussaff in The New York Times:

Walker184_1  EVEN amid all the jostling institutional egos – with one museum after another gushing about ambitious expansion plans – it’s hard not to get excited about the Walker Art Center’s new home. For decades now, the Walker has been one of the liveliest museums in the country, an institution that maintained a strong independent voice despite its ties to the mainstream art world. When the museum hired the Swiss team of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron to design a $67 million expansion and renovation of its existing 1970’s-era building, it seemed like a match made in heaven. The architects had built their reputations on museum projects like London’s Tate Modern and the Goetz Collection in Munich, known for their meticulously refined materials and a sense of inner tranquillity.

Walker_2 The result is an exhilarating place to view art, one that packs in 11,000 square feet of additional gallery space, a 385-seat theater, a hip new restaurant and an expanded bookstore while upholding art’s place as the center of the museum experience. Anchored by an aluminum-clad tower, the addition is a masterly example of how exhausted motifs can acquire new meaning when reworked in a fresh setting.

More here.