Key city officials have already reviewed the architectural design, so the commission is expected to sign off on the site plan for the gallery and classroom building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The move was first proposed back in 2002, which led to years of court battles involving opponents of the relocation, who argue it goes against the wishes of founder Albert C. Barnes. The commission meeting will be the first time the public will learn what the $200 million project will look like.
Designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the new building, which the foundation believes will be much more accessible than the current location in Merion, is expected to replicate the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original galleries.The local art and architectural communities are particularly interested in how faithful the design will be. The Barnes's enormous art collection, installed in thematically tight and stylistically diverse groupings, includes works by such masters as Renoir, Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.