The New Wing
Architect Renzo Piano's Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago has an expansive entry hallway that leads from Monroe Street on the wing's north side to the older sections of the museum on the south, which are in the Beaux Arts style. It is a grand space, with white walls and skylights, providing beautiful natural lighting. People always look so elegant in this space, particularly when seated on the benches lining the walkway. Today one woman reading a magazine and two women engaged in an animated conversation looked particularly elegant.
The Modern Wing, which opened in May of 2009, was built at a cost of $294 million. In a review appearing in the New York Times, Nicolai Ouroussof said that the wing is "the closest Mr. Piano has come in at least a decade to achieving this near-classical ideal." Not surprisingly, Mr. Ouroussof compared the wing to Mies van der Rohe's 1968 Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, but Ouroussof characterized Piano's effort as a "lighter, more ethereal" take.