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Can't wait to see the inside. . .
I like the new exterior lighting. I'm wondering if the 'big graphics' as shown in renderings are going to make their way to the penthouse.

Brian Libby

I wondered the same thing about the graphics. I was told by Lucy Buchanan of PAM that the graphics element is not planned for at this time, but it's something they'd consider in the future. Apparently executive director John Buchanan is a fan of it.


maybe i'm the only one who feels this way but i think this once beautiful building has been defaced with over-sized out-of-place windows that belong on the Eliot Tower not the masonic temple.


How did Ann Beha / SERA get away with open risers on the open stairs? Did I miss another code change?


I overheard many comments on Saturday about how beautiful the new museum extension was. I feel like it's a bit of guilty forced enthusiasm because people know how much was spent on the renovation. And I don't want to rain on the parade.

I know there were some challenges for Ann Beha architects. However, I think that the museum fails on three levels, and unfortunately they're the most important elements of museum design:

1) Proportion - The building's new galleries are either too narrow, too low, or oddly shaped. The ones that are oddly shaped are that way because of the massive circulation stair moving through the space, which could have been avoided. In many of the galleries, not enough space is given to the art, or you feel like it's stuffed into incidental corners. (This is partly because the works are curated too close together and not given breathing room.)

2) Daylighting - The major window element doesn't even daylight galleries. It again emphasizes a bizarrely over-scaled circulation element, and the elevator landings. And even that folded window uses sandblasted glass, so you have no reference back to the rather nice looking original building.
The building plays off the Tate Gallery, but unfortunately only in appearance, not in lighting. On the upper floor galleries, which could have used high light, there are instead only corner windows that unevenly light the art.

3) Circulation - The major element of the museum is an awkward central stair that creates a series of oddly shaped galleries as it blasts through the space. And once you reach the top, you're forced either to walk back down along the same route you've already travelled, or take the elevator. A rather inelegant solution. The best museums create a circulation system that loops or allows you not to backtrack.

I'm glad that the museum now has a wing to house its modern art. But I worry that more thought was given to a fashionable formal gesture (the stair) than was to providing beautiful spaces in which to display the collection.


I had an opportunity to see this for the first time last week. I have to say, whoever designed this destroyed a very lovely building and replaced it with a shell that is unappealing to look at and lacks any kind of attraction. The interior lighting it terrible as is that weird glass facade around the top. I think it's time to back to the drawing board and create something that looks somewhat artistic for the PAM and not this bastardization of the beauty that was originally there.

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