Art Commission approves new Barnes building

The Philadelphia Art Commission met this morning at the city's 1515 Arch building and voted to accept the architects concept for the proposed Barnes museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. In this photo, Moe Brooker, center, standing, takes the vote from the commissioners seated on the left, as the architects, Tod Williams, , Billie Tsien, and attorney Peter Kelson, all seated on the right, watch anxiously.
The Philadelphia Art Commission met this morning at the city's 1515 Arch building and voted to accept the architects concept for the proposed Barnes museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. In this photo, Moe Brooker, center, standing, takes the vote from the commissioners seated on the left, as the architects, Tod Williams, , Billie Tsien, and attorney Peter Kelson, all seated on the right, watch anxiously. (Ed Hille)
Posted: October 07, 2009

At a packed hearing, the Philadelphia Art Commission gave unanimous approval this morning to the overall design concept for a new Barnes Foundation building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, virtually clearing the way for construction to begin as early as November.

The $200 million museum, designed by New York's Tod Williams and Billie Tsien to house the unsurpassed collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, will be located on a 200,000-square-foot site between 20th and 21st Streets.

The collection has been housed in a Paul Cret-designed gallery in Merion since 1925. The new Barnes is slated to open in 2012.

Many opponents of relocating the collection attended the hearing, chaired by artist Moe Brooker of Moore College of Art and Design. Brooker kept a tight rein on public comment, seeking to limit remarks to the architectural design - which is what the commission is charged with reviewing - rather than on the ethics of moving art collections.

Several city residents and architects also applauded the move and the design.

Contact culture writer Stephan Salisbury at 215-854-5594 or ssalisbury@phillynews.com

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