Steven Holl Architects To Design Expansion for MFAH

Steven Holl Architects has prevailed over architecture firms Snøhetta and Morphosis to design an expansion for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, it was announced February 2d.

Core to the program will be a new building to house art after 1900, on a two-acre site currently being used as a parking lot. That property is adjacent to the Isamu Noguchi-designed Cullen Sculpture Garden, and across the street from two other architecturally significant buildings: the Audrey Jones Beck Building (featured image), designed by Rafael Moneo, and the Caroline Wiess Law Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe. Also forseen in the Holl commission is the expansion of the Glassell School of Art.

Steven Holl project for Nanjing Sifang Art Museum

Holl has been active recently in China, completing, in Nanjing, a design for the Nanjing Sifang Art Museum; and, in Shenzen, the Vanke Center, an office, hotel and exhibition complex.

In the United States, Steven Holl’s museum projects in the past decade have included an expansion to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City (2007) .

Five interconnected light structures at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, by Steven Holl

In that project Holl opted for five interconnected “lens”-like structures that create a strong counterpoint to the neoclassical original. Furthering his emphasis on innovative light plans for art spaces, in 2010, Holl designed “T Space” in Duchess County, New York, described as “ nine steel columns and nine elevations, all integrated via proportions of 1:1.618” with a skin of cedar 2x2s. The T space incorporates skylights “cut to achieve 25 foot candles of natural light on the walls,” that “eliminate” the need for electricity.

Turbulence House in New Mexico

In New Mexico, Holl was author of “Turbulence House,” an Abiquiu residence “where the wind hollers across the mesa,” for artist Richard Tuttle and poet Mei-mei Bersenbrugge, constructed of stressed skins and aluminum ribs and compared, in the New York Times, to a Rashomon-like story of architectural cost overrun (estimated cost: $300k; completed cost: $600k). A second Turbulence House was made for an exhibition in Vicenza, Italy, and is in a private sculpture park in Italy.



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