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Barnes Foundation Searches For Architect
Giorgio de Chirico, Albert C. Barnes. ©The Barnes Foundation.

LOWER MERION, PA.- The Barnes Foundation announced that it has issued a request for qualifications to an extensive group of leading national and international architecture firms. Architects will be selected based on design philosophy, technical approach, organization, experience, innovation, creativity and sensitivity to the goals of the Barnes Foundation.

The Foundation plans to review the responses in April, select a short list later in the spring and announce its selection by August 1, 2007. Design will begin immediately, and the site will be prepared from the end of 2007. Construction will start on completion of design work.

By relocating the gallery to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the center of Philadelphia, in the proximity of several other leading cultural institutions, the Foundation will be able to ensure the long-term viability of one of the world's finest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modernist paintings. To remain true to its purpose and character, the Foundation will replicate the scale, proportion and configuration of the existing galleries in the new location.

The Board also announced the appointment of Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, to advise the Foundation during the process of selecting an architect to build a new 120,000-square-foot facility in Center City Philadelphia.

Derek Gillman, the Foundation's Executive Director and President, commented that: "The Board is delighted that Martha Thorne is working with the Barnes Foundation on its new Benjamin Franklin Parkway building. She brings enormous knowledge of current architectural practice across the world, and great sensitivity to the unique nature of this very important project."

In responding to the Board's appointment, Thorne said: "The new facility truly has the potential to enhance the mission of the Barnes Foundation. I am delighted to be working with the Foundation and its Building Committee as they embark on the process to select the architect for this very important commission."

Throughout her career, Thorne has promoted an understanding of architecture through publications, exhibitions, symposia and other activities. Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, she was Associate Curator and Acting Department Head of the Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago. She curated a number of important exhibitions at the museum, including Unbuilt Chicago, Bilbao: The Transformation of a City, and Modern Trains and Splendid Stations. Before Chicago, she worked in Spain, producing exhibitions and publications for the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, as well as several other public institutions. She was a member of the editorial board of Quaderns d'Arquitectura I Urbanisme, a respected journal published in Barcelona.

Thorne is the co-author of the book Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture, editor of David Adler: The Elements of Style, editor and author for The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years, co-editor of Skyscrapers: The New Millennium, and author of numerous articles for architectural journals and encyclopedias. She also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Graham Foundation. Thorne received a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Thorne will advise the Building Committee, which includes Foundation Board members Aileen Kennedy Roberts, chair of the Committee, the Honorable Jacqueline F. Allen, André F. Duggin, Agnes Gund, Stephen J. Harmelin, Esq., Joseph Neubauer and Dr. Neil L. Rudenstine. Professor Gary Hack, Dean and Paley Professor at the School of Design, at the University of Pennsylvania, and Suzanne Stephens, architectural editor and critic, have accepted the Committee's invitation to contribute to its discussions.

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