“GRAM is best known for its collection of 19th and 20th century American and European paintings and sculpture. Its first home, in 1924, was in a converted mansion; it next occupied a converted Beaux Arts-Classical post office. Built at a cost of $75 million, the new 125,000-square-foot building sits on a slope overlooking a Maya Lin-designed park in the heart downtown. GRAM, pressed for space in its previous quarters, sought a modern design that would evoke its forward-looking mission.
‘We wanted the grandeur and the magnificence of a museum building, but modern architecture has an open feeling,” explains museum director Celeste Adams. “The phrase used in the commission was ‘a building of our time.’ We wanted it to have a classic character but we wanted a modern design’ ”