Houston, TX, United States
The new Nancy and Rich Kinder Museum Building is characterized by porosity, opening the ground floor at all elevations. Seven gardens slice the perimeter, marking points of entry and punctuating the elevations. The largest garden court, at the corner of Bissonnet and Main Street, marks a central entry point on the new Museum of Fine Arts, Houston campus. When standing in the new entrance lobby of the Kinder Building, one can see gardens and lush Houston vegetation in four directions and feel the inviting energy of a new sense of openness to the community.
The Texas sky opens 180° overhead above a luminous canopy covering the new building. Concave curves, imagined from cloud circles, push down on the roof geometry, allowing natural light to slip in with precise measure and quality, perfect for top-lit galleries. Organized horizontally on two levels, all galleries have natural light and are flexible with open flow. The undersides of the curved ceiling become light reflectors, catching and sliding the light across each distinct gallery experience. These curved slices of light shape the gallery spaces in a unique way related to the organic qualities of the lush vegetation and water that characterize the new campus. Rather than mechanical and repetitive, the light is flowing, echoing the movement through the galleries.
The open flow through galleries is punctuated by views into the seven gardens with green trellises offering shade from glare. The galleries are centered around an open forum. The central gallery atrium provides generous spaces for the exhibition of art and vertical circulation to the upper floors.
The Kinder Building adds a horizontal architecture in translucent glass to the museum’s collection of stone (1924), steel and glass (1958, 1974), and stone (2000) buildings. Its innovative glass-tube facade has a soft, alabaster-like texture. The 30-inch tubes of glass open at the top and bottom, providing a “cold jacket” which reduces solar gain by 70% on the facades via the chimney effect of air circulation. At night, the glowing translucent facade is reflected in the water gardens and provides an open invitation to enter the museum.
MFAH CAMPUS REDEVELOPMENT
Steven Holl Architects led a multidisciplinary team for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston campus expansion, shaping an integral experience with new landscapes and public plazas. The campus redevelopment is the largest new North American cultural project. In the center of Houston, the new master plan knits together adjacent historic elements, including a 1924 historic church, a Mies van der Rohe building, and an Isamu Noguchi sculpture garden.
GLASSELL SCHOOL OF ART
As part of the master plan, Steven Holl Architects completed the new 93,000-square-foot Glassell School of Art in 2018. Set adjacent to the Kinder Building, the L-shaped School creates an integral campus experience, defining the Brown Foundation Plaza which extends the space of the Cullen Sculpture Garden by Noguchi. The precast planar structural concrete exterior begins with the angle of the inclined roof plane and gives character to the inner spaces of the building. The planes alternate with large translucent panels to provide diffuse light to the art studios within the building.
|client||The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston|
|architect||Steven Holl Architects|
|design architect, principal||Steven Holl|
|partner in charge||Chris McVoy|
|senior associate, overall project architect||Olaf Schmidt|
|associate, project architect for Kinder Building||Filipe Taboada|
|Project team||Rychiee Espinosa, Yiqing Zhao, Lourenzo Amaro de Oliveira, Garrick Ambrose, Xi Chen, Carolina Cohen Freue, JongSeo Lee, Vahe Markosian, Elise Riley, Christopher Rotman, Yun Shi, Alfonso Simelio, Dimitra Tsachrelia, Yasmin Vobis|
|associate architects||Kendall/Heaton Associates|
|structural engineers||Guy Nordenson & Associates Cardno|
|MEP engineer||ICOR Associates Transsolar|
|lighting consultant||L’Observatoire International|
|cost estimator||Venue Cost Consultants|
|façade consultant||Knippers Helbig|
Steven Holl Architects is a 35-person innovative architecture and urban design office working globally as one office from two locations: New York City and Beijing. Steven Holl leads the office with partners Chris McVoy, Noah Yaffe and Roberto Bannura.
Steven Holl Architects is recognized for the ability to shape space and light with great contextual sensitivity and to catalyze the unique qualities of each project to create a concept-driven design at multiple scales, from minimal dwellings, to university works, to new hybrid models of urbanism. The firm has realized architectural works around the world, with extensive experience in the arts, campus and educational facilities, and residential work, as well as mix use and office design, public works, and master planning.
Steven Holl Architects emphasizes sustainable building and site development as fundamental to innovative and imaginative design. Our projects combine sustainable technology and forward-looking approaches to urbanism and architecture. We see a sustainable approach to design and construction as an obligation to the future of the built environment and are committed to this vision in each project.
Parallel to designing large scale, sustainable urban architecture, Steven Holl supports the preservation and restoration of landscape and wilderness as Lifetime Member of Sierra Club, Active Member of Scenic Hudson, Member of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and “Advocates for Wilderness”-Member of the Wilderness Society. In 1970, Steven Holl was one of three founding members of Environmental Works at the University of Washington.
Steven Holl Architects is internationally honored with architecture’s most prestigious awards, publications and exhibitions for excellence in design. Awards include the Velux Daylight Award for Daylight in Architecture (2016), the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture (2014), the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (2012), the RIBA Jencks Award (2010), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2009), the Grande Médaille D’Or from the French Académie D’Architecture (2001), and the Alvar Aalto Award (1998).
Steven Holl has published numerous texts and has lectured widely. He is a tenured faculty member at Columbia University where he has taught since 1981. He was named by Time magazine as “America’s Best Architect,” for creating “buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye.”