Philip Walsh

  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Harvard Art Museums renovation and expansion, anticipated completion 2014, Cambridge, MA. Photo: Peter Vanderwarker.

    Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s Harvard Art Museums

    MUSEUM ADDITIONS are like the leftovers of the art world—difficult to keep interesting, mostly bland at best. And they are perhaps the structures most susceptible to the pitfalls of architectural practice—which is, after all, a discipline of constraints, often defined less by the vision of the designer than by the demands of the client, the limitations of the site, and the contingencies of building codes.Yet additions are inevitable. Art museums grow through accumulation—Adorno once remarked that, like the casino, the museum always wins—and so the day for expansion invariably

  • Snøhetta, James B. Hunt Jr. Library, 2013, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Photo: Jeff Goldberg.

    Snøhetta’s James B. Hunt Jr. Library

    IN THE AGE OF THE CLOUD and the search engine, the precarious status of the library—its growing obsolescence as a brick-and-mortar repository of information—is already a cliché. Yet the library building seems to have lost none of its status as a cultural icon, with cities and institutions around the globe commissioning them at an impressive rate. Perhaps no architecture is more representative of this paradox than that of Snøhetta, the Norwegian firm that first rose to international prominence in 1989 after winning the high-profile competition to design Egypt’s Library of Alexandria.