The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus
The campus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is being transformed: a school and gallery building, designed by Steven Holl Architects; a conservation center, designed by Lake|Flato Architects; and a landscape plan by Deborah Nevins & Associates that knits together a century’s worth of signature architectural structures. The entire project, underway since 2012, is slated for completion with the opening of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building on Sunday, November 1, 2020.
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The Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus
Encompassing 14 acres in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH campus-redevelopment project is a major contribution to the city’s efforts to improve the pedestrian experience of Houston. With an array of public plazas, reflecting pools, and gardens, as well as improved sidewalks, street lighting, and way-finding, the Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus provides an active setting for three significant new structures:
• A 237,213-square-foot-building for 20th- and 21st-century art: The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building
• A 102,528-square-foot home for the Museum’s school: The Glassell School of Art
• A 37,864-square-foot, state-of-the-art conservation center: The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation
Additional key elements
• Two underground parking garages; one is already open at 5101 Montrose Boulevard
• Two pedestrian tunnels between the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building and the Caroline Wiess Law Building, and between the Glassell School of Art and the Kinder Building
• A renewed Cullen Sculpture Garden; designed by Isamu Noguchi, it has been restored as part of the campus project
The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building
Designed by Steven Holl Architects
Opening: November 1, 2020
The translucent Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, dedicated to art after 1900 from the MFAH collections, will stand in complementary contrast to the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed Caroline Wiess Law Building (1958/74) and stone facade of Rafael Moneo’s Audrey Jones Beck Building (2000).
Highlights of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building
• Gathered under a “luminous canopy” roof, the concave curves reference the billowing clouds that fill the “big sky” of Texas
• Vertical, translucent-glass tubes cladding the facades
• Two floors and more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space circling a three-level atrium space, with the distinctive roof allowing natural light to flood the central spaces
• Increases overall MFAH exhibition space by nearly 75 percent
• The 215-seat Lynn Wyatt Theater; a restaurant; and a café
• Seven gardens and six reflecting pools inset along the building’s perimeter
Site-Specific Commissioned Artworks
A series of major site-specific commissioned artworks, inaugurated with the Kinder Building, serve as portals that connect the new structure with the other components of the Sarofim Campus. Located at strategic points, the works are designed to mark moments of transition on the campus and activate public spaces. These works of art have been commissioned from a roster of renowned, international artists.
- El Anatsui
- Byung Hoon Choi
- Carlos Cruz-Diez
- Olafur Eliasson
- Trenton Doyle Hancock
- Cristina Iglesias
- Ai Weiwei
The Glassell School of Art & The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza
Designed by Steven Holl Architects, with plaza designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates in collaboration with Nevins & Benito Landscape Architecture, D.P.C.
The L-shaped Glassell School of Art building is constructed from nearly 200 sandblasted, pre-cast concrete panels, alternating with panes of glass, in a rhythm of verticals and slight angles.
Highlights of the Glassell School of Art
• The BBVA Roof Garden, a sloping, walkable green roofline offering dramatic views of the Sarofim campus and the Houston skyline
• Fronts onto The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, with its ample outdoor space for programs and performances, and two significant works of public sculpture: Cloud Column (2006) by Anish Kapoor and Song of Strength (1966) by Eduardo Chillida
• A street-level coffee bar for students and the public
• Provides studio and classroom space for Glassell School of Art students from pre-K to post graduate
The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation
Designed by Lake|Flato Architects
Constructed on top of the pre-existing Binz Street parking garage, the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation houses state-of-the art conservation labs and studios.
Highlights of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation
• Brings the Museum’s conservation team together under one roof and in close proximity to the Museum
• Provides facilities not only for MFAH research and conservation projects, but for national and international collaborations as well
Time-Lapse: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Column
The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza & BBVA Roof Garden