steven holl-designed 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston prepares to open

steven holl-designed 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston prepares to open

the museum of fine arts, houston (MFAH) has announced that its new building — the ‘nancy and rich kinder building’ — will open to the public on november 21, 2020. designed by steven holl architects, the latest addition to the institution’s ‘sarofim campus’ is dedicated to presenting works from the museum’s international collections of modern and contemporary art. it will open with the first comprehensive installation of these works, drawn from the collections of latin american and latino art; photography; prints and drawings; decorative arts, craft, and design; and modern and contemporary art.

steven holl kinder building
image by peter molick | main image by peter molick / thomas kirk III



designed by steven holl architects, the trapezoidal concrete ‘kinder building’ is clad with vertical glass tubes that emit a soft glow at night in a pattern across its façades. five rectangular courtyard pools are inset along the perimeter, emphasizing the building’s openness to its surroundings. ‘light enters the kinder building through the ‘luminous canopy’ of its roof, modeled on the billowing clouds of the texas sky, and light emerges from the cladding of soft-etched translucent glass tubes, whose glowing presence at night will add to the impact of the campus as a civic experience for all of houston,’ explains steven holl.

steven holl kinder building
image by peter molick



a flexible black-box gallery at street-level will be permanently devoted to immersive installations, hosting three inaugural works by james turrell, yayoi kusama, and gyula kosice. the ground floor also includes a windowed gallery facing main street, while an installation of suspended lights by american artist spencer finch, will hang in the café space.

steven holl kinder building
image by peter molick



the second-floor galleries will be organized by curatorial department, and each will highlight collection strengths. suites of galleries will be devoted to the history of photography; decorative arts, craft, and design; prints and drawings; european and american 20th-century painting and sculpture; and latin american modernism. meanwhile, the third-floor galleries will feature thematic exhibitions. in addition, eight site-specific commissioned works by artists including ólafur elíasson, cristina iglesias, and ai weiwei will be inaugurated at the time of the opening.


image by peter molick

‘in the dynamic spaces that steven holl architects has designed for the nancy and rich kinder building, our distinctive holdings of modern and contemporary art will soon have the showcase they deserve,’ says gary tinterow, director, the margaret alkek williams chair, the museum of fine arts, houston. ‘this area of our collection continues to grow rapidly, thanks to the exceptional endowment for acquisitions provided by our donors, with the late caroline wiess law at the forefront. we are thrilled that we can now present recent purchases and our historic acquisitions in depth and breadth, bringing our audiences a wealth of recognized masterpieces as well as discoveries by lesser-known artists.’

steven holl kinder building
image by peter molick



the redevelopment of the sarofim campus and off-site art-storage facilities has been the largest cultural project in north america, with some 650,000 square feet of new construction. steven holl architects designed the masterplan for the redevelopment, along with the kinder building and a new home for the glassell school of art. in celebration of the opening, the museum will offer free general admission to all three of its sarofim campus gallery buildings for opening weekend, and to the kinder building through november 25, 2020. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

steven holl-designed 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston prepares to open
image by peter molick



project info:


name: nancy and rich kinder building
client: museum of fine arts, houston
location: houston, TX
architect: steven holl architects
status: set to open on november 21, 2020
previous coverage: november 2019

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