Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts just announced the winner of its 3-architecture-firm face-off for the commission to design its new building for 20th and 21st century art. It’s New York’s Steven Holl Architects, but the institution put itself in the limelight too, declaring the firm had been chosen “to partner with the board and staff of the museum in developing” the expansion, which will also include a new parking garage.
That garage will be needed because the new structure will take up the 2-acre parking lot across Bissonnet from the museum’s main building between Montrose and South Main St. (Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe added onto that building twice; it’s now known formally as the Caroline Wiess Law building.) The museum and its new director, Gary Tinterow, expect Holl’s design to integrate the existing sculpture garden on the northwest corner of Montrose and Bissonnet, and allow for expansion of the glass-block Glassell School just to the north.
Tinterow hinted at broader goals for the expansion project in an interview with the Chronicle last year, saying he envisioned a museum campus “that feels more whole and less divided by the streets — more integrated.” He told Molly Glentzer: “That would be my goal: to create a real pedestrian zone here and bring Hermann Park all the way up to the Noguchi sculpture garden, and to bring the park forward as a place where people walk around — not just drive around.”
Holl’s glowy new building for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City (pictured below) was completed in 2007.
Losing out with the announcement: the 2 other contenders, LA design firm Morphosis and Oslo’s SnÃ¸hetta (though the latter firm still has a shot at landing a much smaller Houston project, the new central light-rail stop on Main St. downtown).
- MFAH Selects Steven Holl Architects to Partner with Staff and Board in Developing New Museum Facilities [MFAH]
- Gary Tinterow comes home to lead MFAH [Houston Chronicle]
- Steven Hollâ€™s Modern Art Museum is a Luminous Iceberg [Inhabitat]
- Previously on Swamplot: The Houston Office Tradeoff, The Three Finalists Chosen To Design the MFAHâ€™s Next Building
Map: MFAH. Photo: Steven Holl Architects