Last weekend, Foster + Partners saw work begin on one of its most significant cultural projects in the United States to date, breaking ground on an expansive addition to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida. Foster’s three pavilions — united by a monumental canopy of reflective steel — will result in a 35-percent increase in gallery space to showcase the Museum’s collection and temporary exhibitions.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Norton Museum of Art contains a valuable collection of photography and contemporary art from America, Europe and China. Its masterpieces of 19th- and 20th-century European painting and sculpture include works by Brancusi, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso as well as American works by Stuart Davis, Hopper, O’Keeffe, Pollock and Sheeler.
Scheduled to open in 2018, the transformed West Wing will include a monumental entrance, a state-of-the-art 210-seat auditorium, increased education space and a “great hall” that will become the Museum’s social hub. The Heyman Plaza — the new entry forecourt — will feature the serene Michelle and Joseph Reflecting Pool, while a scallop-shaped cutout in the floating canopy respects a majestic 80-year-old, 65-foot-tall banyan tree.
“Reinforcing its natural setting with a ‘museum in a garden,’ our aim has been to restore a sense of clarity to the existing building by reasserting the logic of the original plan,” explains Foster. “[We aim to create] new event and visitor spaces that will transform the museum into the social heart of the community as well as increasing the gallery and exhibition spaces to engage with a wider audience, both local and national.”
The London-based firm is already hard at work in the Sunshine State: its luxury condominium, Faena House, is currently under construction on Miami Beach. For more insight into projects by Foster + Partners around the globe, explore the studio’s extensive firm profile on Architizer.