Included in the upgrades to the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum, scheduled to be complete by the start of next year: an actual bathroom for visitors. Plus: a better elevator. If you’d rather take the stairs, you’ll have this new proboscis to pass through, on the building’s north face, wrapped in vertical bands of clear and textured channel glass. That sorta-Cullen Sculpture Garden-looking slanted wall-column thing supporting it, which architect Dan Wood of New York’s WORKac calls the “wallumn,” should help block the view of the loading dock. And it’ll frame a brand new entrance on that side, facing the unnamed street and parking lot in front of it that parallels Elgin. The $2 million renovation (Blaffer spokesperson Jeffrey Bowen says $1.75 million worth of pledges have already been raised) won’t increase the amount of gallery space, but it should make the institution more visible on campus and allow for more activity in the back courtyard it shares with the rest of the university’s fine-arts building:
The art venue upgraded its name from the Blaffer Art Gallery just last year. The project will add only about 500 sq. ft. of space. But WORKac’s design, which fills the boxy 1970s-era building with angles (note the gallery’s ceiling lighting in the rendering above) includes a new cafe and lounge that faces the current entrance and can spill outdoors.
The courtyard will be reconfigured to allow for easier presentations of art and entertainment, as well as movie screenings. Construction is scheduled to begin in July.