Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

Steven Holl completes Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

The gathering spaces – including the building’s walkable, sloping roof – provide a civic experience for students and the public alike, with spectacular views of the neighbourhood and the city skyline
– Steven Holl

Work has been completed on the new Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), designed by Steven Holl Architects.

The School – the only museum-run institute in the US with programmes that serve students of all ages, from 3-year-olds to adults – is a major component of the museum’s 14-acre redevelopment, masterminded by Holl, which is currently the largest cultural project under construction in North America.

The L-shaped design of the latest building features a sloping, walkable roofline that runs the length of the structure and connects a wide-stepped amphitheatre at its base and a roof garden above.

The interior of the 93,000sq ft (8,600sq m) school features three dozen studios, all illuminated with natural light and designed to serve more than 8,500 children and adults annually, as well as public gallery spaces for exhibitions.

“Our building for the Glassell School is a key part of the overall strategy to shape the public spaces for the entire campus,” said Steven Holl.

“Alternating concrete and glass panels create a porosity between indoors and out, and the gathering spaces – including the building’s walkable, sloping roof – provide a civic experience for students and the public alike, with spectacular views of the neighbourhood and the city skyline.”

Deborah Nevins & Associates and Nevins & Benito Landscape Architecture have also completed the Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, a public gateway to the museum’s entire campus, which extends onto the School’s roof.

The plaza provides the dramatic setting for a reflecting pool, a shaded seating area and two monumental public sculptures: Cloud Column (1998–2006), a 32-foot-high stainless steel form by Anish Kapoor; and Eduardo Chillida’s stacked-granite Song of Strength (1966).

Commenting on the completed projects, Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH, said: “As we reveal not only a glorious new building for the Glassell School, but also a public plaza, large fountain, amphitheater, and roof garden, I think Houstonians will quickly grasp that our project intends to create a new destination for the city.”

Next to open as part of the campus revamp will be the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation, designed by Lake|Flato Architects, later this year, and the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, a museum extension designed by Holl, in early 2020.

When complete, the campus will boast public plazas; reflecting pools; gardens; improved sidewalks, lighting, and wayfinding; and an “active setting” for visitors to admire its older buildings, designed by the likes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Rafael Moneo.

The project - largely funded by philanthropists Nancy and Rich Kinder – has been designed to expand the role the museum plays in the daily life of Houston, “not only as a cultural institution but also as an urban oasis open to all.” The redevelopment is projected to generate nearly $334 million in economic activity over 20 years.

The origins of an MFAH school date to 1927, three years after the museum’s 1924 opening. The Glassell School of Art opened in 1979. Now, each year, the school offers more than $100,000 in scholarships and enrols about 7,000 students. Enrollment is expected to grow to 8,500 in the new building, which doubles the space of the original.

An extensive interview with Steven Holl features in the most recent issue of CLADmag, and can be read here.

In his own words
Steven Holl on his work for the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

Holl’s Nancy and Rich Kinder Building museum extension was originally set to be built on the site of a parking lot owned by the church across the street, with the competition brief calling for the addition of a new seven-storey car park. The Glassell School building was to remain exactly as it was.

“I studied the site, and I decided they shouldn’t be building a car park there, they should just put a layer of parking underground to free up more space. But in order to do that, they would have to tear down the Glassell School,” he told CLADglobal. “We figured out we could do them a new school building about twice the size. So I took a radical decision in the competition, and I told them, ‘This is how I would do it. It’s not what you asked for, but this way you can double the size of your sculpture garden and it will be bigger than the one in Dallas.’

“The great thing about a place like Houston is there’s enough space to spread out,” he continued. “That creates the right kind of circulation. Every time you’re moving around these buildings, you understand where you are, you never get lost and you can regularly see Isamu Noguchi’s gardens and the great white oaks outside.

“Movement is absolutely key to the human experience, and all the best museum experiences are horizontal. In vertical museums, everybody’s always standing by a stupid elevator and there’s something irritating about it because moving through the galleries is not so commodious. With these buildings we had space to breathe, and more opportunities to let the daylight flood in.”

Glassell School of Art  Museum of Fine Arts in Houston  MFAH  Steven Holl Architects  Nancy and Rich Kinder 
Related stories
22 Mar 2018

Steven Holl blames 'corruption in power' for construction industry's failure to embrace renewable energy in hard-hitting interview

16 Mar 2018

Medieval fortress and Apocalypse Tapestry inspire Steven Holl's museum and hotel design for Angers

25 Jan 2018

'Parachutes frozen in the sky': Historic airfield inspires Steven Holl's mixed-use Moscow district

05 Jun 2017

Steven Holl's cloud-inspired Houston art gallery breaks ground

26 Jan 2017

Clocks and clouds inspire Steven Holl's Shanghai culture and health centre

07 Oct 2016

Steven Holl returns with sculptural arts complex in Iowa

14 Sep 2016

Steven Holl wins international prize for his use of daylight in design

FEATURE: Interview – Steven Holl

Work has been completed on the new Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (MFAH), designed by Steven Holl Architects. The School – the only museum-run institute in the US with programmes that serve students of all ages, from 3-year-olds to adults – is a major component of the museum’s 14-acre redevelopment, masterminded by Holl, which is currently the largest cultural project under construction in
CLD,VAT,HAM,AAC,ARC,DES
The roofline connects a wide-stepped amphitheatre at the buildong's base and a roof garden above 
/ Richard Barnes
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7668     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7668     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering and pool & spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
SHL managing director Sanne Wall-Gremstrup (right) and Perkins+Will CEO Phil Harrison
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

The International Spy Museum is RSHP’s first cultural building in the US
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

Architecture is by Hugo Demetz, who designed the property to try and integrate it into its natural surroundings
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Norman Foster and his team were responsible for the architecture and interior design
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

The hotel features two restaurants and two bars, including the Julep Herbal & Vermouth Bar
Olga Polizzi is director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels and also owns two of her own hotels
"On Via Sistina, everything breathes history. At the same time I wanted to reflect the modern hunger for the fantastical - Tommaso Ziffer"

Following the highly anticipated launch of Rome’s Hotel de la Ville, Rocco Forte’s director of design reflects on a fascinating project

Grigoriou’s interiors work focuses on boosting wellbeing and reducing stress
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

The architects Dean Mackenzie and Hamish Monk
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

The project to restore Houson’s Memorial Park is ongoing
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
cladkit product news
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
Technogym
Technogym