It will never be the old Barnes again. But even the fiercest critics of the new Barnes Foundation building have to admit that it's got one thing that the old building never did: environmental credentials.
Tonight, in a ceremony at the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects–designed building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, U.S. Green Building Council CEO Rick Fedrizzi will award the Barnes Foundation its LEED Platinum award, making the museum the first major art institution of its kind to achieve that level of certification.
"From diverting 95 percent of construction waste from landfills as it redeveloped this brownfield site to a building with anticipated energy savings of 44 percent over a traditionally designed equivalent, it's a marquee project not only for Philadelphia but the country," Fedrizzi said in a release.
Barnes Foundation president Derek Gillman cited Billie Tsien, AIA, and Tod Williams, FAIA, for a building design that includes a vegetated roof, rapidly renewable materials, and water efficiency throughout the Foundation's 4.5-acre campus. Gillman praised the work of Olin (the landscape architects who designed the site and plantings), as well as Fisher Marantz Stone (who designed the building's lighting), and Ballinger (who led the effort for LEED certification).
"The Barnes Foundation's new building is a wonderful addition to Philadelphia's iconic Parkway, not only for the benefits it brings to Philadelphia and the larger community, but for its attention to environmental design standards," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who won the American Architectural Foundation's Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Leadership in Urban Design in 2012. "It's a project that shows that Philadelphia is a city that cares deeply about the arts and sustainability."
Some critics of the new Barnes Foundation will never be mollified
—as ARCHITECT's Eric Wills explained in a feature on the design decisions that led from the historic mansion in Merion, Penn., to a new building nearly eight times its size. However history judges the decision to uproot the original Barnes Foundation—a building that critic Jed Perl just recently eulogized as "that grand old curmudgeonly lion of a museum" in The New Republic—it will be forced to admit that the move came at no harm to the environment.