Museums + Galleries

Barnes Foundation

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
93,000 SF
2012 LEED Platinum
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© Michael Moran
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© Michael Moran
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© Michael Moran


  • 2013 AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture
  • 2013 Building Stone Institute Tucker Award
  • 2012 Apollo Award for Museum Opening of the Year

A gallery in a garden and a garden in a gallery.

The Barnes Foundation is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings. The Foundation’s mission is to promote “the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” Originally located in Merion, PA, the new Barnes is located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, home to many of Philadelphia’s top cultural institutions. Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ original art collection is presented within a 12,000 SF gallery that replicates the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original Merion galleries. Expanded facilities offer educational programs as well as special exhibitions and visitor amenities, and public gardens are provided for a contemplative experience.

Altieri’s work involved comprehensive systems design to state-of-the-art standards. The building is fully climate-controlled with year-round humidity control for all areas of the building. The central ventilation air processing system is provided with energy recovery that filters and precisely controls the amount of raw outdoor air provided into the building based on demand for ventilation. Electrical service taken from a new utility transformer includes a 480volt distribution to serve the mechanical equipment, elevators, and large equipment throughout the building, and is supplemented by a 70kW roof-mounted photovoltaic system to utilize all available on-site power production. A 400kW diesel-fueled emergency generator serves life safety and standby loads. During a utility outage, the HVAC systems will maintain design space conditions in the museum collection areas. On-site fuel storage will allow for over 60 hours of continuous operation at full load. Barnes is the first major art and education institution in the country to achieve the highest level of environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

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Images © Michael Moran

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Images © Michael Moran

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© Susan Fisher Plotner/Altieri
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