in 2015, steven holl architects unveiled plans to redevelop the campus of a major institution in texas. now, three years later, the museum of fine arts, houston, has previewed the site’s new ‘glassell school of art’, designed by steven holl, as well as an adjacent plaza, designed by deborah nevins & associates. the 14-acre redevelopment is currently the largest cultural project under construction in north america.

steven holl glassell school
all images © richard barnes

 

 

steven holl architects’ L-shaped design for the ‘glassell school of art’ features a sloping, walkable roofline that runs the length of the building and connects two prominent gathering places: the wide-stepped amphitheater seating at its base and the ‘BBVA compass roof garden’ above. the interior comprises three dozen naturally-lit studios; public gallery spaces for exhibitions by students and alumni; a broad-stepped central staircase that serves as the school’s forum; a 75-seat auditorium; and a public coffee bar.

steven holl glassell school
the L-shaped design for the glassell school of art features a sloping, walkable roofline

 

 

‘our building for the glassell school is a key part of the overall strategy to shape the public spaces for the entire campus,’ explains steven holl. ‘the 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 neighborhood and the city skyline.’

steven holl glassell school
the interior comprises a broad-stepped central staircase that serves as the school’s forum

 

 

elsewhere on the museum of fine arts campus, the brown foundation, inc. plaza has been designed by deborah nevins & associates in collaboration with nevins & benito landscape architecture. the public square includes 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).

steven holl glassell school
the scheme includes a total of 36 naturally-lit studios

steven holl glassell school
the ‘brown foundation plaza’ has been designed by deborah nevins & associates

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