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High Museum of Art Expansion

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High Museum of Art Expansion

  • High Museum of Art Expansion
  • High Museum of Art Expansion
  • High Museum of Art Expansion
  • High Museum of Art Expansion
  • High Museum of Art Expansion

Designed by Renzo Piano, this project's 177,000 gross square feet more than doubles the size of the original museum.
The facility was designed by signature architect Renzo Piano in collaboration with local architect Lord Aeck & Sargeant. Piano’s vision was to create a Village of the Arts to encompass the three new buildings, a restaurant and outdoor café, piazzas, a sculpture terrace and greenspace. Complementing the original structure in scale, style and signature white cladding, the new facilities create a world-class destination for the arts and consist of the following components:

Wieland Pavilion: a 5-story gallery space

Anne Cox Chambers Wing: 5-story gallery space

Administrative Center: 3-story building housing offices and curator space

Parking Deck: 5-level, 186,000-SF below-grade deck with spaces for 400 vehicles

Restaurant containing a 5,000-SF kitchen and 5,000-SF dining room

New freight elevator in the Meier Building

New façade on the existing Memorial Arts Building

New lobby for the Hertz Theater.

The separate buildings comprising the overall complex fan out from a central plaza and are connected by glass-enclosed bridges.

Constructing the project

The High Museum of Art facilities contain a host of innovative and highly specialized materials and systems, many of which were selected based on their ability to enhance the museum experience. Highlights are:
Exterior Walls - Complex, layered system that consists of the following components (from the outside in):
- Rainscreens - Metal flashing
- ½” Virco - Tyvek
- 1 or 2 layers of Densglas - Structural studs
- 1 ½” rigid insulation - 5/8” gypsum board
- 2’ air cavity - Heavy gauge studs
- ¾” fire-retardant plywood - 2 layers of 5/8” gypsum board
- Drywall finished to Level 4.

Curtainwall - Floor-to-ceiling curtainwall on lower levels contain low-iron glass with a low-E coating. The glass also maintains the color rendering index at greater than 97-ideal for art environments - and filters out UV radiation, which is damaging to art objects.
Skylights - 1000 skylights provide natural lighting to top-floor galleries in the two gallery buildings. As with the lower-floor curtainwall system, the skylights utilize low-iron glass and a PVB laminate to maximize color rendition and minimize UV radiation. Each skylight is equipped with a sunshade or vela (Italian for “sail”) that prevents sunlight from directly striking gallery floors and walls at any time during the year.
Flooring - Hardwood floors constructed from Pennsylvania White Oak. Flooring system contained over 7500 linear feet of slot diffusers for temperature control and consisted of a bottom concrete slab, air space with ductwork, interstitial slab, two layers of plywood and 6” hardwood boards. The system is designed to mitigate squeaks, which are distracting in a museum environment.


This project is in the heart of Atlanta, GA.

Benefits for the community

This expansion project has helped this area of Atlanta grow into a vibrant section of the city, encouraging other small galleries, boutiques, and development nearby. Additionally, pedestrians are encouraged to step into the u-shaped piazza that is surrounded on three sides by the museum expansion to think about art or just enjoy the greenspace. This project has helped bring Atlantans together.


CMAA South Atlantic Chapter - 2006 for CM Project Achievement Awards - Overall Winner
CMAA South Atlantic Chapter - 2006 for CM Project Achievement Awards - Buildings, New Construction over $100,000,000
Award in Excellence in the Parking Deck Category of the Georgia Chapter, ACI 2006 Awards
Gold Medal for Italian Architecture 2006
La Triennale, Milan, Italy
2006 Award of Excellence in the Monumental Structures / Public Spaces category, IALD Lighting Design Awards
2006 1st Sustainable Design Award; IALD Lighting Design Awards
2005 The World’s Best Expansion C. C. Sullivan’s List
2005 Best in Atlanta Award Atlanta Business Chronicle
2005 Outstanding Achievement Award American Concrete Institute, Atlanta Chapter
2005 Masterworks of Modern American Architecture stamp; United States Postal Service


Service: Construction
Mark segment: Museums
Start date: 2003
Completion date: 2005
Clients: Woodruff Arts Center
Country: United States
City: Atlanta
Project status: Completed