Nancy and Rich Kinder Museum Building

Houston, TX, United States

Nancy and Rich Kinder Museum Building ©2020 Richard Barnes
Nancy and Rich Kinder Museum Building ©2020 Richard Barnes
Aerial view ©2020 Iwan Baan
Aerial view ©2020 Iwan Baan

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.

Aerial view ©2020 Iwan Baan
Aerial view ©2020 Iwan Baan
Garden space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Garden space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Garden space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Garden space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Garden space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Garden space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Interior view ©2020 Peter Molick
Interior view ©2020 Peter Molick
Interior view ©2020 Peter Molick
Interior view ©2020 Peter Molick

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.

Roof design sketch ©2013 Steven Holl
Roof design sketch ©2013 Steven Holl
Model ©2014 Steven Holl
Model ©2014 Steven Holl
Aerial view ©2020 Peter Molick
Aerial view ©2020 Peter Molick
Roof design sketch ©2013 Steven Holl
Roof design sketch ©2013 Steven Holl
Indoor gallery ©2020 Richard Barnes
Indoor gallery ©2020 Richard Barnes

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.

Vertical circulations ©2020 Peter Molick
Vertical circulations ©2020 Peter Molick
Flowing space ©2020 Peter Molick
Flowing space ©2020 Peter Molick
Curved ceiling plates ©2020 Peter Molick
Curved ceiling plates ©2020 Peter Molick
Ceiling elevation ©2020 Peter Molick
Ceiling elevation ©2020 Peter Molick
View to the atrium from the galleries ©2020 Richard Barnes
View to the atrium from the galleries ©2020 Richard Barnes
Illuminated by skylights ©2020 Peter Molick
Illuminated by skylights ©2020 Peter Molick
Illuminated by skylights ©2020 Peter Molick
Illuminated by skylights ©2020 Peter Molick
Skylight detail ©2020 Peter Molick
Skylight detail ©2020 Peter Molick
Ceiling detail ©2020 Peter Molick
Ceiling detail ©2020 Peter Molick
Flowing gallery space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Flowing gallery space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Flowing gallery space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Flowing gallery space ©2020 Richard Barnes
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Gallery space ©2020 Iwan Baan
Lynn Wyatt theater ©2020 Richard Barnes
Lynn Wyatt theater ©2020 Richard Barnes

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.

Night view ©2020 Richard Barnes
Night view ©2020 Richard Barnes
Night view ©2020 Iwan Baan
Night view ©2020 Iwan Baan

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.

Concept sketch ©2012 Steven Holl
Concept sketch ©2012 Steven Holl
Model ©2012 Steven Holl
Model ©2012 Steven Holl

Project drawings

Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Site plan ©2020 Steven Holl
B2 floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
B2 floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
2nd floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
2nd floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
B1 floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
B1 floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
3rd floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
3rd floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Ground floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Ground floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Roof floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Roof floor plan ©2020 Steven Holl
Elevations ©2020 Steven Holl
Elevations ©2020 Steven Holl
A-A Section ©2020 Steven Holl
A-A Section ©2020 Steven Holl
Elevations ©2020 Steven Holl
Elevations ©2020 Steven Holl
B-B Section ©2020 Steven Holl
B-B Section ©2020 Steven Holl

Project information

clientThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
architectSteven Holl Architects
design architect, principalSteven Holl
partner in chargeChris McVoy
senior associate, overall project architectOlaf Schmidt
associate, project architect for Kinder BuildingFilipe Taboada
Project teamRychiee 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 architectsKendall/Heaton Associates
project managerLegends
structural engineersGuy Nordenson & Associates Cardno
MEP engineerICOR Associates Transsolar
climate engineersTranssolar
lighting consultantL’Observatoire International
cost estimatorVenue Cost Consultants
façade consultantKnippers Helbig

Leave a comment