Local News in Brief : Newport Beach : Architect Piano’s Museum Design OKd

The board of trustees of the Newport Harbor Art Museum voted Thursday night to approve Genoese architect Renzo Piano’s schematic design for the museum’s new building.

The 75,000-square-foot structure, to be built on the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, will open sometime in 1992.

Newport Harbor will not allow Piano’s drawings or models for the building to be reproduced in the press at this time, but a general description is to be released Saturday.

Piano, 51, recently won the Gold Medal for lifetime achievement from the Royal Institute of Architects in London. His other cultural buildings include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Menil Collection Museum in Houston. The architect was chosen by the museum’s architecture committee in November, 1987, ending a yearlong search.


The 10.5-acre museum site was a gift from the Irvine Co., contingent on raising $10 million toward the $20-million construction cost of the building. Another $20 million must be raised for the museum’s endowment. In December, the museum passed the $10-million fund-raising mark and officially took title to the land.

Founded in 1961, the Newport Harbor Art Museum is dedicated to exhibiting art from the post-World War II period and collecting the works of contemporary California artists. In recent years, the museum has outgrown its 23,000-square-foot facility on San Clemente Drive in Newport Beach, which is too small to simultaneously display its permanent collection and traveling exhibitions.