(The Morgan library Expansion, designed by Renzo Piano)
During the final decade of the twentieth century, the growing popularity of the Morgan's programs and services brought a doubling of attendance and ever greater demands on its museum and library offerings and services. Beginning in the late 1990s, Morgan Trustees and staff studied and analyzed the programs and facilities and articulated essential institutional goals for the future. In 2000 the Trustees engaged the Renzo Piano Building Workshop to develop an architectural plan for expansion and enhancement that would realize the Morgan's expectations for the future. Permitting the Morgan to do what it has always done—but better—the plan's principal features are:
a welcoming entrance on Madison Avenue;
improved internal circulation, including greater wheelchair accessibility;
new and renovated galleries that will enable more art, books, and manuscripts to be exhibited;
a modern auditorium;
a new Reading Room with greater capacity and electronic resources; and
substantially expanded space for collections storage.
The scheme that the Piano Workshop developed in conjunction with Beyer Blinder Belle of New York retains the time-honored ethos of the Morgan—its elegance, intimacy, and commitment to excellence. New and old elements are persuasively integrated, in part because the new structures will be no higher than existing buildings, and in part because Piano's scheme combines a Renaissance appreciation of geometry with a modernist celebration of clarity.The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and community and municipal groups have enthusiastically endorsed the project as a beautiful, imaginative response to the Morgan's needs.