PRINT September 2004

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Renzo Piano and museum architecture

WHILE ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS AT THE Harvard Design School are hardly shouting “The king is dead, long live the king!”, a recent readjustment of architectural priorities within the tightly knit world of museum trustees and directors has had one obvious consequence: Rem Koolhaas is out; Renzo Piano is in. Just a few short years ago Koolhaas and his right-brain/left-brain sister offices OMA and AMO, backed by the critical muscle of the New York Times, were picking up American commissions at a prodigious rate. Alongside commissions for the new Central Library in Seattle, a campus center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and multiple stores for Prada, Koolhaas proposed grandiose, expensive, and now-defunct schemes for expanding both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Working with Thomas Krens, he also made a quixotic attempt to catch the eye of

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