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Reflections Off This Skyscraper Are Destroying Priceless Works Of Art

The city of Dallas in Texas has a burning question. What does it do when a newly constructed high rise reflects so much heat that it’s frying the works of art in the galleries and the lawn of a museum it overlooks?

Opened in 2003, The Nasher Sculpture centre is home to pieces by important artists like Rodin, Matisse, Gaugin and Miró, among others. It was built by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. Located in the centre of the city’s arts district, it’s a point of pride in Big D, and it’s helped spur development in the area.

That included a 42-storey block of apartments called Museum Tower across the street. Still under construction, its glass panels are reflecting so much light that the building poses a threat to the precious works inside the Nasher. Ironically enough, it uses the museum as a selling point, even in the midst of an enormous disagreement.

But there’s no easy fix. They can’t just move the $US200 million tower, and the Nasher’s garden and open roof are key pieces of its design. In fact, the glass roof was erected with the express purpose of ushering sun into the galleries. But now the high rise is increasing that amount of light to dangerous levels. Picasso’s “Nude Man and Woman” oil on canvas has already been moved to place it out of the glare of harmful direct sunlight. Specially-planted trees are also under attack. Considering there were more than 30 triple-digit temperature days in North Texas last summer, turning up the heat any more is undeniably detrimental to more than just art.

Museum officials and the condo developer can’t reach a solution. Architects of both buildings can’t compromise. Even city officials are involved. It’s a sad story and at this point there isn’t a happy ending on the sizzling horizon. If only someone had seen this coming before the tower was nearly complete. [New York Times]


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