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Boston Society of Architects honors Gardner Museum with top architecture prize

Renzo Piano’s addition called city’s “most beautiful building”

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s bold and contemporary addition was hailed as this year’s “most beautiful building” by the Boston Society of Architects, honoring it with the city’s coveted Harleston Parker Medal.

“This is a thrilling moment in the history of the Museum,” said Steve Kidder, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors. “The new wing was first and foremost a preservation project to relieve the historic palace from some of the daily wear and tear of increased programing and amenities necessary in a 21st century museum. At the same time, we worked diligently to build a stunning and effective new wing that both respects and compliments Mrs. Gardner's vision.”

“We are delighted to have the validation of our efforts by the Boston Society of Architects this year and congratulate Renzo Piano and all of our project partners,” Kidder said.

The Museum opened the addition in 2012 after a multi-year design, fundraising, and construction process with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, a Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning firm known for developing contemporary designs for many museums around the world. The Gardner Museum’s former director, Anne Hawley, played an integral role in the overall plan and wrote a book about the experience, Daring By Design, published in 2014.

Since 1921, the Boston Society of Architects has been awarded the Harleston Parker Medal to buildings in Boston judged to be the “most beautiful.”