Piano, who in recent years has become one of America's most sought-after architects, can be called a specialist in museums: in the United States alone, he designed the Menil Collection Museum in Houston (1986) and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2003). He is currently involved in the modernization and expansion of the Whitney Gallery in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
But the project for Atlanta differed from all of them in that Piano was required to attach a new wing to the building of the currently living architect - Richard Mayer, and it was the High Museum building (1983) that is considered one of the best in the work of the latter. Rounded in plan, its construction, despite its formal perfection, was little adapted to the needs of the museum - no more than 3% of the exhibits of the museum collection could be exhibited there.
Drunkenly reacted to the building of his old friend (he and Mayer met in the competition for the Pompidou Center project in Paris at the turn of the 1960s-1970s) with respect: the new buildings are painted in the same white color (the difference is that Mayer used enamel, and Drunk - regular paint over aluminum). The main facade of the museum has not changed either - additional buildings are hidden behind it.
All three new buildings are attached in the Latin L shape to the rear façade of the earlier structure. The ground floor of all three is glazed, which gives them a sense of lightness. In contrast to the rounded and verticalized building of 1983, they emphasize the horizontal direction and angles. Along with the galleries, storerooms and administrative premises are located there.
The floors of the exhibition halls are equipped with the so-called "light spoons": 1000 metal cones collect only the sunlight directed from the north - the softest and safest for paintings - and send it to the galleries.
The total area of the new wing is 16,400 sq. m, cost - 109 million dollars.
Thanks to the new development, the buildings that make up the Woodruff Arts Center complex (i.e., the High Museum itself, as well as the Atlanta College of Art and the Memorial Arts Center) acquired the appearance of a single ensemble, grouped around a small square.