Late last week the Museum of Fine Arts Houston announced the names of 3 architecture firms selected as finalists to design the museum’s next expansion project. The new structure will go on the 2-acre parking lot at the northwest-ish corner of Bissonnet and Main. (Yes, that means the era of free MFAH parking is soon to be over.) The finalists are NYC’s Steven Holl Architects (designers of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City), Norwegian firm Snøhetta (designers of the roofwalk-friendly Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo), and LA’s Morphosis, (that’s their design for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science now under construction in Dallas, above). You can presume any possible competitors with some sort of Houston connection were axed from the list during the museum’s year-long series of interviews with 10 “international” design firms.
The new building will house the MFAH’s permanent collection of post-1900 art, but it’ll also have to incorporate a grab-bag of contemporary museum pieces: a new library and study center, lecture halls, a restaurant, a theater, classrooms, galleries for traveling exhibitions, and of course the requisite parking garage. MFAH officials are also hoping the new structure will bring some sort of cohesive identity to the array of buildings on the growing museum campus, which includes half a dozen structures and spaces designed by Isamu Noguchi, William Ward Watkin, Rafael Moneo, S.I. Morris, Carlos Jimenez, and of course the ghost of Mies van der Rohe, who’ll be peering across Bissonnet with his trademark poker face — just to see the kind of wacky stuff that goes down these days. The 3 finalists will have until next January or February to submit their proposals.
- MFAH Selects Three Architecture Firms to Submit Design Proposals for an Expanded MFAH [MFAH]
- Late chief’s vision for arts building move forward [Houston Chronicle]