“Designed by Richard Meier (with a new addition added courtesy of Renzo Piano) the High Museum of Art was crafted by some of the best minds in architecture,” according to the design magazine.
While the Peachtree Street museum was founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, it wasn’t until 1983 that Meier designed the 135,000-square-foot building we know and love today. The New Jersey architect behind the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Spain’s Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art earned the coveted Pritzker Prize after his work on the High.
In 2005, another Pritzker winner named Renzo Piano added three new buildings to the Midtown museum, more than doubling its size.
“The city of Atlanta’s progressive building tradition, as well as its role as a developing cultural center, had a strong influence on the design,” according to Meier’s official website. The museum’s extended ramp “is a symbolic gesture reaching out to the street and city, and a foil to the interior ramp that is the building’s chief formal and circulatory element ... Light, whether direct or filtered, is a constant preoccupation throughout; apart from its functional aspect, light is a symbol of the museum’s role as a place of aesthetic illumination and enlightened cultural values. The primary intention of the architecture is to encourage the discovery of these values, and to foster a contemplative appreciation of the museum’s collection through spatial experience.”
In its state-by-state ranking, Architectural Digest pointed to the museum’s Auguste Rodin sculpture (below) donated by the French government after a 1926 plane crash killed prominent Atlantans visiting the Louvre. Rodin’s bronze sculpture titled “The Shade” was gifted to the High in 1968 in honor of the 106 art patrons lost.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.