Glassell School of Art, MFAH

Houston
Night view, west elevation
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
Day view, west elevation
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
View of The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza by Nevins & Benito Landscape Architecture, D.P.C. from the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. Cloud Column (1998–2006) by Anish Kapoor, rear; and Bird (Oiseau) (1968) by Joan Miró, foreground
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
Facade detail, south elevation
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
Interior
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
Studio classroom
Photo © Richard Barnes
 
 
Watercolor sketch by Steven Holl
Drawing © Steven Holl Architects
 
 
Watercolor sketch by Steven Holl
Drawing © Steven Holl Architects
 
 
Architects
Steven Holl Architects
Address
5101 Montrose Boulevard, Houston
Year
2018

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston redevelopment has the unique chance to expand the museum’s campus as an integral experience open to the community. Horizontal activity, transparency and porosity will unify the new MFAH, and provide inspiring and inviting public spaces. The lush Houston vegetation, refreshing sound, and reflections in water are all part of a new campus experience elevating the poetry of art.

The new ‘L’ shaped Glassell school shapes the Brown Foundation Plaza which extends the space of the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden by Isamu Noguchi.

The inclined plane of the roof shapes an amphitheater and a public path to a rooftop garden overlooking the whole MFAH campus.

There are 3 gallery spaces in the building:
1) At the ground level café space overlooking the plaza
2) At the Education Court connecting to a sculptural tunnel to the future Nancy and Rich Kinder
Building
3) At the top of the forum on the second floor

The main entry opens to a cascade of levels at the forum shaping an informal learning space directly opening to a 75 seat auditorium.

There are 23 studios shared between the Core Program and Junior School and 8 core-fellow studios. All of these have been designed with flexibility, great light, and fine proportions.

We are very enthusiastic about the simple planar structural pieces of sandblasted concrete which begin with the angle of the inclined roof plane and give character to the inner spaces of the building in the spirit of simplicity and directness employed by Mies Van der Rohe’s original building. The concrete planes alternate with large translucent panels to provide ideal diffuse light to the studios. As an educational building it tells us how it is made. Winston Churchill said “First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us.”

We sincerely hope our new Glassell architecture contributes to the optimistic shaping of future education in the arts for Houston and beyond.

Client
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Associate Architect
Kendall/Heaton Associates, Inc.
Landscape Designer
Deborah Nevins & Associates, Inc. in collaboration with Nevins & Benito Landscape Architecture, D.P.C.
Construction
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

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