A Look at the Blaffer Art Museum’s Glass Future

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.

Images: WORKac/Blaffer Art Museum

4 Comment

  • As a former Blaffer intern I can say that a restroom will be much appreciated!

    LOVE the new front glass entrance.

  • Wallumn?

    OK, I get that the wall is supporting 2nd-story projection and that only the very end of the wall is actually under the projection so that structurally it may be acting more like a column than a wall. But is it really so unique and innovative that you have to come up with a new name for it? Especially when you consider than the built reality will probably just be a steel column hiddin within the wall?

  • This is fantastic news! i wonder if the bathroom will be accessible to people going to concerts and recitals in Dudley Recital Hall. I was always embarrassed to bring my family to my recitals as a music student because I knew they’d have to use those terrible outdoor bathrooms….
    Anyway, great for Blaffer and fine arts at UH.

  • Just what UH needed… More construction.

    I also like all the stylish people they’ve CADed into these drawings. In my experience, most people who attend UH wear Buc-ee’s tshirts.