Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: New 70,000-Square-Foot Wing Has Space for Events

By Kara Baskin January 20, 2012, 2:09 PM EST

Photo: Nic Lehoux

The new 70,000-square-foot wing of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened to the public on Thursday. Spaces within the $114 million addition, designed by noted Italian architect Renzo Piano, will be available for rental starting in February.

The new wing includes the glassed-in Café G, which specializes in classic American fare such as slow-roasted beef tenderloin and wood-grilled Berkshire pork loin. The 90-seat eatery holds 115 for receptions and can be configured for meetings and theater-style presentations. A landscaped terrace, open weather permitting, seats 60 or holds receptions for 100.

Also included in the new wing is Calderwood Hall, a dramatic round theater with a retractable screen, visual projector, and theater-quality lighting. The 300-seat space can accommodate meetings for 50.

Modeled after a 15th century Venetian palace, the original museum was the residence of the famous art patron for whom it is named. It houses paintings, tapestries, sculptures, furniture, manuscripts, decorative arts, and rare books from artists that include Botticelli, Degas, and Michelangelo. In the venue, a drawing room that was once Gardner's private parlor is now available for events and holds 30 for receptions or 25 for seated dinners.

The entire museum can be rented out for events with as many as 425 guests. Rental fees include use of the Cloisters and two levels of galleries in the original building, plus the first floor of the new wing.

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