Construction on the MFAH’s New Glassell School Is Ramping Up

From the skies above Montrose Blvd. just north of Bissonnet, here’s a view from late last week of progress on the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s new Glassell School of Art. The new building, designed by Steven Holl Architects, is under construction across the street from the Glassell Junior School building (in the foreground, with the curved roof) — and on the same site where the original Glassell School, designed by Houston architect S.I. Morris, was demolished in 2015. Morris’s Glassell School featured exterior walls of glass block; the primary exterior materials of Holl’s replacement building are sandblasted panels of precast concrete, assembled to shape an inclined plane along the long edge of the building’s L shape.

If that part of the building is starting to look like it’ll form a giant ramp, it’s because it will: Models of the structure show an outdoor amphitheater at the ramp’s base; a rooftop public path will ascend beyond it to a sculpture garden on the roof of the building’s northern leg. An addition to the existing sculpture garden to the south will extend into the courtyard shaped by the building’s two wings, fronting Montrose Blvd. The space designated for the garden is filled with construction materials in the center of the photo above; it’s pictured in a more completed state in this rendering by the architect:


And in models:

Images: Russell Hancock (aerial view); Steven Holl Architects (model and rendering)

A View from Above

5 Comment

  • I really like the design, and have been closely watching the prolonged construction progress with great interest, but I do foresee a multitude of problems with the “ramp” access in the future. How is both safety and security issues going to be addressed on such a tempting structure? Will the Cullen Sculpture Garden remain secured at night, as it is presently, or will the area remain open to the street and become the latest and greatest homeless magnet ever? I am sure the MFAH has thought of this, but what those thoughts as far as I know have remained a “closely guarded” secret (pun intended).

  • The homeless of course, are still people, WR. Such a compassionate society we are. *rolls eyes*

  • The same architects designed the Nelson Atkins museum in KC with a similar rooftop theme. No doubt they can just get together and compare notes.

  • @cmoney
    Of course they are, but what I have previously stated are real concerns. In addition, the homeless are not well served on the streets and are much better off in city sponsored encampments. Your lame attack on my comment shows how little you actually care about what is best for this segment of our population, much less on what is perceived to be endangerment to the artwork displayed in the sculpture garden or the safety and comfort of people going between the parking garage and the MFAH’s other buildings.

  • Ah, I first read that as a “rooftop public bath.”