Nader Tehrani, the Iranian-born architect of the Melbourne School of Design, will be leading the renovation of the Met’s Ancient Near East and Cypriot galleries.

Nader Tehrani has honed his skills in architecture all over the world. He has erected works in Boston, France, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Beijing, and studied in Rome and Harvard. His Boston-based firm, NADAAA, is an architecture and urban design legend, with six years at the top of Architect Magazine’s top firms list. His architectural designs have been displayed as art pieces in MoMA.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hasn’t renovated the galleries in question since the 90s, and they badly need it. Some of the work displayed there, such as a pair of immense lamassu sculptures – towering winged lions with human heads from Assyria, 9th century B.C.E. – has been added since the last renovation and deserves more elbow room and a place of pride.

Tehrani has already completed his designs for the renovation, using elements that will complement the kinds of art represented in the gallery, such as the deep jewel tones of the Sumerian tileworks. The new gallery will affect the curation of future additions to the collections, so Met curators Kim Benzel and Seán Hemingway are overseeing the project. It’s their goal that the whole space integrates the collections in a way that helps demonstrate the cross-cultural influences that were so formative in the Near East and Mediterranean.

The Met, like all museums, has fallen far short of their revenue goals in the last year, but funding for this renovation is coming from donation drives and benefits. According to Max Hollein, director of the Met, they have so far raised about half of the necessary $40 million.

Renovations already under way at the museum include changes to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing and minor projects in the sections for European paintings, modern, and contemporary art.

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