herzog & de meuron plans memphis brooks museum of art along mississippi waterfront

herzog & de meuron plans memphis brooks museum of art along mississippi waterfront

a new memphis waterfront

 

herzog & de meuron takes to the banks of the mississippi river and unveils the design concept of its memphis brooks museum of art. the 112,000 square-foot proposal is developed together with memphis-based practice archimania, and is expected to celebrate its grand opening in 2026. the project will relocate the 105-year-old institution with expanded exhibition galleries, more and varied spaces for community and educational programs, and several central areas dedicated to the public.

 

the contemporary structure will be nestled atop a bluff in the oldest part of memphis, overlooking the river, only blocks from beale street. the relocated museum marks the keystone of an ambitious six-mile-long waterfront redevelopment — conceived by studio gang together with scape — that is now underway. this project will introduce recreational paths and parks, a cultural corridor of museum, library, and law school, and a newly preserved historic cobblestone landing.

herzog meuron memphis brooksimages © herzog & de meuron | @herzogdemeuron

 

 

herzog & de meuron with archimania

 

with its memphis brooks museum of art, the design team at herzog & de meuron with the local architects at archimania reorient memphis towards the river. the museum will take shape as an earthern-clad and glass pavilion that sits atop a sloping plinth before projecting out to river. the base, forged out of the river bluff, both supports the upper structure and accommodates parking and other interior uses. all the galleries are on one floor within the pavilion, providing an uninterrupted experience.

 

the recessed main entrance at the midpoint of the east façade is marked by a pair of double-height timber columns, a thin metal canopy, and a brick paved entry court. this entrance court punctuates an otherwise simply expressed front comprising two horizontal bands, the upper of warm and textured earthen cladding, and the lower a continuous expanse of glass wall. transparency at the street level minimizes a sense of a barrier threshold, encouraging glimpses into a glass enclosed entrance lobby, café, museum store, gallery for temporary exhibitions, and even into a courtyard at the very heart of the building.

herzog meuron memphis brooks

 

 

the new memphis museum of art

 

in a continuous, single-story loop, permanent collection and focus galleries encircle the memphis museum’s central courtyard. herzog & de meuron and archimania integrate ‘pause spaces’ within the gallery sequence provide moments for quiet reflection with views to the exterior. a large temporary exhibition space at the southeast corner supplements the permanent collection galleries. there are a number of entrances directly to the galleries from the entrance lobby, and the education classrooms and the family interactive space are adjacent to exhibition spaces on the main level.

 

the team leveraged the challenge of the steep terrain to script movement and sightlines. as a kind of east/west hinge point, they inserted an ingeniously designed 175-seat box theater with raked seating above the entrance lobby. an adjacent theater terrace opens out to front street at the roof level. a west-facing wall of glass provides an overlook of the museum’s diagonal sweep. it can be obscured with exterior shading and interior drapery to provide an opaque backdrop for interior performances or it can transform into a dramatic screen facing out into the courtyard. at the right time of day, a visitor will be able to gaze out the window and catch the setting sun casting a golden light on the courtyard below.

herzog meuron memphis brooks
a 175-seat box theater with raked seating floats above the entrance lobby

 

 

the roof of the memphis museum of art will be celebrated as its fifth façade. simply developed with an occupiable deck and green plantings — and a stunning panoramic view of the river and region — the roof expanse will serve as an announcement card for the museum. it will be visible to those entering memphis from either of its two bridges or by air or for those at the windows of office towers.

 

jacques herzog, co-founder of herzog & de meuron comments:we’ve aimed to design a welcoming civic landmark that upon approach explains itself visually and from the inside reminds the visitor where he or she is in relation to a legendary river and an historic city… the result will be a museum that’s both in memphis and of memphis, a landmark that couldn’t be anywhere else.’

herzog & de meuron plans memphis brooks museum of art along mississippi waterfront
the entrance is marked by a pair of double-height timber columns, a thin metal canopy, and a brick paved entry court herzog & de meuron plans memphis brooks museum of art along mississippi waterfront
a wall of glass can transform into a dramatic screen facing out into the courtyard

herzog-de-meuron-memphis-brooks-art-center-designboom-06a

all the galleries are on one floor within the pavilion, providing an uninterrupted experience

herzog & de meuron plans memphis brooks museum of art along mississippi waterfrontthe proposal will contribute to the lively street life of memphis

herzog-de-meuron-memphis-brooks-art-center-designboom-08a

transparency at the street level encourages glimpses into the glass enclosed entrance lobby

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