(Beyeler Foundation Art Museum)
Renzo Piano 1997
Renzo Piano has built for the
Beyeler Foundation probably the most civilized art gallery or museum in the
world. Serene and tranquil both inside and out, the building is exciting in
itself without in any way competing with the art it displays. Sitting on the
sofa provided and contemplating the Monet on the opposite wall, with an
uninterrupted expanse of light oak floor between, the filtered light
streaming in from the glazed wall onto the garden and reflecting pool, you
have the wonderful sensation of enjoying a Monet in your sitting room, not
trudging round an art gallery.
The ceiling is glazed throughout
the building, providing indirect natural light in all the galleries. The
simple elegance and detailing of the lit ceilings hides a five-foot space
above, in which electrically controlled louvers, artificial lighting and the
roof of brise-soleil are used to control the light in the galleries.
At the building ends the glass
roof extends generously beyond the glass walls and a further row of
pillars, over the reflecting pool and the real-life water-lilies outside.
Piano has built on the successful tranquility of this gallery with a similar
plan for the 2004 Nasher
Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.
Simon Glynn 2001
How to visit
The Fondation Beyeler is a tram
ride of 15-20 minutes from the center of Basel (Basle). Take Tram No. 2
from either the Bahnhof SBB (on the Swiss rail network) or the Badischer
Bahnhof (on the German rail network), to Riehen Dorf. The museum is right
across the street.
There is a car park ('Parkhaus
Zentrum') opposite the museum.
The Fondation Beyeler web site
has comprehensive visitor information, as well as further English-language
information about the building and photographs, at www.beyeler.com.
Or telephone the museum on +41 61 645 9700 for up-to-date information on
The Fondation does not allow
photography within the building, and will even require you to lock your
camera in a locker rather than carry it with you.
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