Cleveland Museum of Art East Wing
by Rafael Viñoly Architects



New York architects Rafael Viñoly have completed a new East Wing extension to the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, USA.


The new wing connects the original 1916 Beaux-Arts building and a later addition by Marcel Breuer completed in 1971.


The extension features double-height exhibition spaces and an entrance lobby on the lower level, new galleries on level two and expanded offices and workrooms for the conservation department on level one.


Rafael Viñoly were awarded the commission in 2001 to unify the original building and the subsequent addition by Marcel Breuer into a resolved and coherent masterplan, reinstating the Hubbell & Benes Greek revival pavilion as the focal point.


The first phase of the project comprises the construction of the East Wing, the first of three planned wings, and renovation of the original building and the Breuer extension.


The final stage of the project is due for completion in 2012.


See other Dezeen stories about Rafael Viñoly Architects:

Museum of Modern Arab Art
Battersea Power Station redevelopment


Photographs are by Brad Feinknopf.

Here are further details from Rafael Viñoly Architects:



New 139,200-square-foot museum wing designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects unites historic Beaux-Arts building and Marcel Breuer addition

CLEVELAND - Rafael Viñoly Architects has designed the new East Wing at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), Ohio, which opened to the public on June 27, 2009. Its completion marks the opening of the first of three planned wings.

Rafael Viñoly Architects’ design for the new East Wing forms part of an impressive seven year expansion and renovation project. The 139,200 square foot East Wing connects CMA’s original 1916 Beaux-Arts building and the 1971 addition by Marcel Breuer, creating spectacular new spaces for the presentation and conservation of one of the leading encyclopaedic art collections in the United States.

Double-height special exhibitions galleries and an entrance lobby, located on the Lower Level, serve as the centrepiece of the two-story East Wing, while new galleries for the museum’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century European, modern and contemporary art, as well as the  extensive photography collection, are located on Level Two. The new wing also houses expanded offices and workrooms for the conservation department on Level One.

The CMA, one of the largest and most important art institutions in the United States, was built in 1916 by local architects Hubbell & Benes as a grand Greek revival pavilion, created as the focal point of a formal landscape designed by the Olmsted Brothers. However, subsequent additions, including an education wing by Marcel Breuer, obscured the rational plan of the original structure, presenting a disjointed, confusing warren of spaces. In 2001, Rafael Viñoly Architects won the commission to resolve these elements with an expansion and renovation program, creating a coherent sequence of galleries that accommodates projected growth and unifies disparate architectural vocabularies into a singular composition.

Rafael Viñoly Architects’ plan restores focus to the original 1916 building, conceiving it as a “jewel” set within a continuous ring of expansion space that includes the renovated Breuer building. Other later additions are being demolished to make way for a vast, indoor, sunlit piazza, topped by a gently curving canopy of glass and steel, around which the entire museum will be organized. The naturally lit piazza with its attractive landscaping will naturally draw visitors into the center of the museum complex, a central meeting place as well as an event space for large functions.

New gallery wings to the east and west enclose the piazza and taper toward the 1916 building, where they culminate in fully transparent, glazed galleries and pedestrian bridges that permit unobstructed views of the sides of the historic pavilion. The stone cladding of the new gallery wings consists of alternate bands of granite and marble that modulate the two very different aesthetics of the 1916 and Breuer buildings. In this manner, the distinctions between “modern” and “historic” are preserved, yet integrated into a cohesive whole.

A two-phase construction process accommodates the museum’s fundraising schedule and allows continued operation (on a reduced basis) while the project is underway. The project is due to be completed in 2012.

Posted on Wednesday July 15th 2009 at 4:44 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • one

    Looks like a new Egiptian Cubic piramid what ever this could mean… I mean It looks authentic and somewhat unhuman…

  • Fatigued


  • Highly recommend seeing this space. Cleveland has a fantastic art colection that often gets forgotten about. This must have been a fun project to work with as ity synchronizes the Beaux-Arts and Breuer. I always loved the big glass entrance to the museum because it showed off pieces in the main lobby. I am glad Vinoly used an element to create a large showcase room in which to view exhibits from the outside. I enjoy this trend of exposing museums.

  • chupper

    Relationship to existing building looks wierd. wtf

  • windbag

    Rafael Viñoly and Marcel Breuer, poor Cleveland, this is really bad karma, must have committed something terrible in its past life.

  • chupper,

    there are actually two building structures that this new addition is adjacent to – a classical building and a modern one. i am not sure why they don’t show the modern portion as it relates to the new extension. i think it would help with the understanding of the project – at least a floorplan or aerial or something.

    the new addition is a bit close to the classical building, i agree. i understand that there is a walkway to the other building, but it could use more breathing room.

  • Dave

    The way it connects to the existing building seems forced. I loved the shot taken at night because I thought that the exteriors were comprised of wood. However, when revealing the day shot and noticing the gaudy white stone, I was quite disappointed.

  • rik

    lol @ meh

  • pablo

    the original breuer structure needs to be seen in context to get what’s going on with the new wing. Having seen it, it makes perfect sense. the scale of the galleries is perfect.

  • abeer

    NO connectivity between pld and new wingggggggg

  • abeer

    NO connectivity between old and new winggggggg.. sorry

  • ghull

    oh give them a break… they had to combine greek classical with a tad of corinthian a bit of egypt a little high tech… the cake looks good

  • iannis

    i agree with dave!i thought that was wood at the first would be match better…

  • kat

    why wood? it wouldn't make any sense in this context.

  • A step in the right direction for sure.