Art Institute of Chicago, Modern Wing and Nichols Bridgeway

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project at a glance


Designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Renzo Piano, the Modern Wing provides a new home for the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection of 20th and 21st century art. The 264,000 square foot building makes the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the United States.

The building is a light glass, steel and limestone wall structure, constructed to fit into the 19th century identity of the existing historic buildings and is composed of two three-story pavilions, one on each side of the two-story Griffin Court, a skylit passageway that serves as the entrance to the Modern Wing. Within the building is The Bluhm Family Terrace, a 3,400 square foot outdoor space, the Ryan Education Center, Modern Wing Shop, The Kids Shop, the Balcony Café overlooking the Griffin Court, and the Terzo Piano a 160-seat fine dining restaurant and other food areas including the Garden Café. The lower level houses storage and various handling areas to support the museum functions and service entries. Work included addition of a loading dock, as well as campus-required mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure improvements.

The Nichols Bridgeway, a 625-foot pedestrian bridge designed by Renzo Pianorises over the Lurie Gardens and crosses Monroe Street connecting to the thrid floor on the new building.  The bridge slowly arches to a height of 60 feet, offering breathtaking views of the park, skyline, and lake.

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