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The Art Institute of Chicago

The "Modern Wing" extension at the Art Institute of Chicago, fine-tuned by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, features an entirely new building made of steel, glass and Indian limestone. The structure has enlarged the museum's display space by approximately 30%, making it the second-largest museum in the United States. The project also includes a 190-metre long steel pedestrian bridge designed by Nichols Bridgeway that connects the Institute to the nearby Millennium Park. This connection is enhanced by the building's glass and steel upright facade that offers continuous views over the gardens. Light and sustainability are the project's two key elements as, according to the RPBW studio, lighting in the art world must protect the art on display while also allowing viewers to enjoy it. With regard to sustainability, the building has been awarded silver level LEED certification, based on an analysis of the materials recycled from the building site, the design of the double external shell that insulates the building and protects the people and artworks from the rigid Chicago climate, and the roof, which Piano has described as “a flying carpet” and is fitted with an innovative automatic screen system that allows the influx of natural light to be carefully monitored. Le Perroquet luminaires have been used in all the connecting and transit areas.

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  • Year
  • Client
    The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Architectural project:
    Renzo Piano Building Workshop
  • Lighting project:
    Renzo Piano Building Workshop & Arup Lighting