Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga. Photo: Barozzi/Veiga.

Art Institute of Chicago Taps Barcelona Firm for Campus Revamp

The Art Institute of Chicago has hired Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga of the Barcelona-based architecture firm Barozzi/Veiga to overhaul its museum. Director James Rondeau told the Chicago Tribune that the institute plans to move forward cautiously to ensure that there are enough funds to complete the project. He said: “We’re really just at the point of saying that we’ve enlisted thought partners to dream the future.” The institute hasn’t undergone changes since the completion of the 264,000-square-foot, Renzo Piano–designed modern wing in 2009.

Rondeau added that working with the architects “has been the best decision I’ve made on the job.” He joined the museum in 2016 and was able to reach out to Barozzi/Veiga, in part, because of a $50 million donation the institute received in 2018. Over the next eighteen months, the museum will discuss a timeline with Barozzi/Veiga and will envision what its five-year, ten-year, and fifteen-year plans will look like. The firm will be tasked with brainstorming how to modernize the one-million-square-foot museum, how to make the campus feel more cohesive, and how to increase the public’s access to its exhibitions, collections, and programming.

The commission represents the firm’s first North American project. Barozzi/Veiga won the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture–Mies van der Rohe Award for its Szczecin Philharmonic Hall in Poland and is also known for designing Tanzhaus Zürich, a Swiss performing arts center and dance school, and the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, a Swiss fine arts museum in Lausanne.