Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei, Architects
Opened in 1983, the Payson Wing (named for prominent benefactor Charles Shipman Payson) replaces the 1890’s Y.M.C.A, or Libby Building on the same site. Designed by Henry N. Cobb of I.M. Pei, Architects, the Payson Wing is a prominent example of the Contemporary Post-modern movement in architecture. Its exterior reflects a traditional architectural vocabulary and makes reference to great monuments of the past; the great billboard-like front mounted on a ground level loggia recalls the Doges Palace in Venice, while the use of arched motifs echoes the work of the great English Architect Sir John Soane. Inside, complex sky-lit domes, (another borrowing from Soane) disperse ample natural illumination. Through its use of locally-made brick and granite string courses, the new Museum Wing also reflects local 19th century building practices.
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