26 April 2006 saw the inauguration of the new Morgan Library & Museum, designed by architect Renzo Piano, following a three year construction project costing 106 million dollars. The original
buildings are now linked by a “piazza” accessible from the new entrance on Madison Avenue, between 36th and 37th Street, and protected by a glass and steel structure almost 16 metres high, opening onto the street. The decision to expand and renovate was taken so as to provide more space and exhibit a greater number of items from the superb collection - totalling 350,000, including manuscripts, prints, books, drawings and seals - and create better facilities for the storage of items not on display, but available to scholars and researchers.
Renzo Piano has created new galleries, a naturallylit reading room, a spacious underground storage facility for works not on show and, also underground, a 280-seater auditorium. Visitors will be able to admire 300 masterpieces, including a selection of drawings from Leonardo to Picasso, music written by Mozart and Bob Dylan, manuscripts by Galileo and Poe. The challenge facing the Genoa architect was to integrate a structure of steel and glass - the main materials of modern architecture - into a setting characterized by buildings of the early 20th century, and the grand mansions and Palladian façades of Madison Avenue.
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