The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 by the Atlanta Art Association, is the main museum of art in the south-west of the United States. Located in the artistic and business quarter of the city centre, the High boasts a collection of over 11,000 exhibits. The museum possesses an extensive anthology of 19th and 20th Century American art, also a significant number of European paintings and decorative works of art, an expanding collection of Afro-American art and a continuously updated collection of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. In 1979, the Coca-Cola magnate Robert W. Woodruff offered a donation of 7,5 million dollars toward a new infrastructure, in the form of a “challenge grant”; the management of the museum matched and exceeded the offer, so that a total of 20 million dollars was raised. The foundations were laid in 1981 and the new facility opened two years later. The museum building designed by Richard Meier won international acclaim, and the design has received many plaudits in the time since. In 2003, to celebrate twenty years in its new building, the High presented a series of improvements made to its interiors and galleries, and a new chronological ordering of its permanent collection, then in November 2005, three new spaces were opened to the public, creating a vibrant “arts village” at the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown Atlanta. With these further buildings, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the total floor space of the museum has been increased to 29,000 m2 (more than doubled). Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has been made part of an impressive expansion scheme under which the Woodruff Arts Center, together with the Symphony Hall (opening shortly), will become a venue of international standing for art lovers. Entrusted to Renzo Piano, the extension also incorporates the natural environment - described by Piano as “Atlanta’s DNA”. The new complex will include a large communal open-air space in Sifley Piazza, around which the three new buildings are situated. A special version of the Le Perroquet fixture was made by iGuzzini for this project, with 70W streetlighting optical assembly in a pole-mounted spot, and 39W Flood, specified here for the first time as an outdoor unit. Indoors, the works of art are ingeniously lit by a ceiling installation with over 1000 “funnels” filtering natural light into the galleries for the best possible visual experience.
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