Harvard Art Museums Scheduled to Reopen This Fall

The museums' newly renovated home, designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano, will open its doors to all on November 16.

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The Calderwood Courtyard in the Harvard Art Museums during renovation and expansion. / Photo by Peter Vanderwarker Provided

Harvard Art Museums announced yesterday that its massive renovation and expansion at 32 Quincy Street in Cambridge—closed since 2008—will finally reopen to the public on November 16 of this year.

Of all the renovations in all the city, this six-year-long, $350 million project is one that architecture experts around the country have been keeping close tabs on. In fact, Architectural Digest listed its completion as one of the most anticipated “architectural marvels” of 2014.

Why all the excitement? Well, aside from the gargantuan scale of the project (204,000 gross square feet) and the imminent gathering of three world-class museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums), there’s also the name of the world-class designer behind the renovation: Renzo Piano.

The 76-year-old Italian architect, a Kyoto-Prize-Pritzker-Architecture-Prize-and-AIA-Gold-Medal-winner (just to name a few), is one of the biggest names in the business, and he’s certainly no stranger to museums—or Boston.

Piano designed the new wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which opened in 2012 to great fanfare. He was also the original designer of Steve Belkin’s proposed Trans National Place—a skyscraper in Downtown Boston that would have become the tallest building in New England, had the FAA not shut it down. (By then Piano had left the project over supposed creative differences.)

Piano’s newest contribution to the Boston area’s landscape—the Harvard Art Museums facility—is a sprawling new space for both the Harvard community and the public. Think: MFA meets Ivy League, with lecture halls, labs, a large glass roof above a restored Calderwood Courtyard, and (as they hope and plan) LEED Gold certification.

The exterior of the project was finished in late 2013; in the fall, after some special events for Harvard folks only (plus a preview for Cantabrigians), the museums will reopen to the public on November 16.

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Arcades surrounding the Calderwood Courtyard. / Photo by Zak Jensen Provided

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The Harvard Art Museums’ new Art Study Center. / Photo by Peter Vanderwarker Provided

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The new addition of the Harvard Art Museums. / Photo by Peter Vanderwarker Provided


To learn more about the Harvard Art Museums renovation and expansion, visit harvardartmuseums.org.