By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After the iconic art collection was assembled by Albert Barnes in the 1920s, the 12½-acre site around the building in Merion, Pa. in which it was housed also included an impeccable arboretum.
Laurie Olin, who led the design of the new museum’s landscape on the 4½-acre downtown site, says he was mindful of the mandate to make the new place both an institution within a garden and a garden in a gallery, “so that you felt you were immersed somewhere.”
His task included trying to capture the spirit of the original site while surrounding it with a public park.
“We wanted to find a way to add more plants, so that when you’re on the inside looking out you don’t just see buses and traffic,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
They also installed a sunken garden court, open to the sky, next to gallery rooms. Olin says it allows visitors a chance to breathe, and to get used to the intense experience of viewing the collection: “allow them to drop their shoulders, and put people in a receptive mind, to see art and feel it.”
Listen to KYW Newsradio 1060 all week long for more on the new Barnes Museum, opening May 19th on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
And listen on Friday, May 18th, as KYW Newsradio broadcasts “Reporters Roundup,” live from the Barnes, 12 noon to 1pm!