Special Section: the Gardner Grows
By changing with the times, will the Gardner lose some of its poetry?
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has addressed a series of practical problems with a modern, welcoming new wing, ingeniously designed by one of the leading architectural firms of our time, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. It’s impossible not to notice the architects’ sensitivity to light, and in particular their embrace of an ideal of transparency. There’s no avoiding the fact, however, that the whole project has been controversial, and that some people believe the new building runs the risk of compromising the spirit of the museum. It’s worth thinking about why.