The Cleveland Museum of Art in the US has opened a new 39,000ft² glass-enclosed Ames Family Atrium, part of its $350m, eight-year expansion and renovation plan.
Designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, the new five-storey atrium will link the old and new museum buildings and serve as a civic space, making it a public gathering place for all Clevelanders.
Apart from the new atrium, which is nearly as big as a football field, the museum has also opened a new Provenance restaurant and café, as well as a major autumn exhibition on the ancient Wari culture of Peru.
Cleveland Museum of Art holds a collection of 43,000 works of art, from Greek and Roman, through Medieval to contemporary art.
The museum was first built in 1916 as a Greek revival pavilion at the head of a pastoral park and lagoon landscape in Cleveland.
A series of expansions left the museum with no coherence and integration and a master plan was adopted in 1999 to restore the old building and the educational wing in order to revive the Greek pavilion style.
In 2001, Rafael Vinoly secured a contract to design and integrate the disparate buildings into one composition.
Renovation of the museum is being carried out in two phases, with the initial phase comprising renovations to the 1916 and Breuer buildings and a new central utility plant built near the western end of the Breuer wing.
The first phase also included expansion of the parking garage, and construction of the museum’s new east wing for special exhibitions, art storage, conservation labs, and the museum’s 20th-century collections.
A new 139,200ft² East Wing, which opened its doors in June 2009, was built as part of the first phase.
Ames Family Atrium and Provenance restaurant and cafe form part of the second phase of the museum’s renovation.
Image: The new five-storey atrium will connect the old and new museum buildings and is nearly as big as a football field. Photo: The Cleveland Museum of Art.