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Building Update: Interior Floor Installation; Exterior Plantings

Once the museum closed to the public in late November, staff moved quickly to complete work that could best be done without visitors. Did you see the photos in the Boston Globe of the laser cleaning of Peplophoros in the Courtyard?

The glorious Tapestry Room restoration will soon be complete and ready for its January debut. We continue to complete the last month of finishing touches in the new wing while also completing conservation and restoration work in the historic building. Chef Peter Crowley has some old favorites and new surprises for when he reopens the Gardner's dining as Cafe G. The Museum's retail space has also been reimagined as a unique destination for unusual and especially Gardner-inspired gifts. Most of the construction of the new wing is complete; only the details remain. But with the completion of each detail we are reminded of what a difference the small things make.

Boston-based filmmaker Michael Sheridan or a member of his Sheridanworks staff has been making regular visits to the construction site of the Gardner Museum’s new wing to film the project’s process. He then edits material that he has recorded over hours--if not days--to reveal the deliberate, almost meditative artistry that goes into the details of construction. The films are viewable on the website dedicated to the new wing designed by Renzo Piano, on the updates section.

The most recent video shows members of the construction crew installing bluestone tile on the floor of the lobby and on the floating staircase. Renzo Piano’s choice of bluestone for the floor surface was certainly not accidental: it refers to the bluestone that was used as the material for the first floor of the Palace. With a series of lingering close-up shots, Sheridan captures the precise craftsmanship that this installation requires. His final image, however, changes our perspective: he pulls back from his subject to show the unfinished lobby floor and to convey the scope of the work ahead. (That work has since been completed!)

The wing’s landscaping has also been continually improved. Recently, sod was placed around the building creating a green lawn in the middle of December. The addition of something as simple as grass has had an inestimable effect on the building, making it feel lush and approachable. Similarly, the planting of Dynasty Chinese elms and witch hazel in the pocket garden shade and enliven the space with the promise of color.

To see images, watch videos, and read more about these construction milestones, go to www.buildingproject.gardnermuseum.org.

Image: Video still by Sheridanworks, 2011.

December 2011