Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Glassell School of Art

Ongoing | Houston TX

Client Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Architect Steven Holl Architects
Associate Architect Kendall/Heaton Associates
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates
Structural Engineer Cardno Haynes Whaley

The expansion of the 14-acre campus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston adds a new 164,000sf museum building, called the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, and a new 80,000sf Glassell School of Art. The design team also moved all campus parking below grade, adding 190,000sf of cast-in-place and post tensioned parking in two new underground garages in order to provide a more pedestrian-friendly experience above. A new below grade precast concrete tunnel structure has also been designed for circulation between the Kinder Building and Mies van der Rohe’s 1974 Caroline Wiess Law Building.

The museum structure is a composite assembly of architecturally exposed concrete wall and steel floor framing. The top floor of the museum will be naturally lit by a “canopy” of concave and curved surfaces with a two way gridded steel roof framing system that was developed to support the irregular roof geometry and provide thin edges at the clerestories between the curved surfaces. The L-shaped Glassell School of Art will be constructed from a series of sandblasted, exposed structural precast concrete panels, and will replace the existing school. These wall panels will vary in size and geometry and will be spaced along the perimeters to allow full-height glazed panels to be installed between adjacent wall panels. The school will include studio space, a broad-stepped central staircase, a trellised roof garden, and will connect with the existing Noguchi sculpture garden.