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steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston

designed by steven holl, the ‘nancy and rich kinder building’ at the museum of fine arts, houston (MFAH) is now complete ahead of its public opening. the building, which is the final part of the decade-long expansion and enhancement of the institution’s campus in texas, 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.

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes | all images and courtesy of the museum of fine arts, houston

 

 

the museum of fine arts, houston will open the ‘kinder building’ to the public on november 21, 2020, culminating a week of previews for staff, donors, members, and community partners. to celebrate the public inauguration of houston’s newest cultural landmark, the MFAH will offer free general admission to all of its gallery buildings throughout the weekend and to the ‘kinder building’ through november 25. ‘a century after the museum’s founding by a group of local art lovers, it is thrilling to place the finishing touches on the susan and fayez s. sarofim campus, the most complete expression of the museum of fine arts, houston,’ says gary tinterow, director, the margaret alkek williams chair, MFAH.

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

 

 

designed by steven holl architects, the trapezoidal ‘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.

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

 

 

a flexible black-box gallery at street-level is 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 hangs in the café.

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

 

 

the second-floor galleries are organized by curatorial department, and each highlight collection strengths. suites of galleries are 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 feature thematic exhibitions. in addition, eight site-specific commissioned works by artists such as ólafur elíasson, cristina iglesias, and ai weiwei are also included.

kinder building houston
alexander calder, international mobile, 1949, sheet aluminum, rods and wire, the museum of fine arts, houston, gift of d. and j. de menil in memory of marcel schlumberger © 2020 calder foundation, new york / artists rights society (ARS), new york | image © richard barnes

 

 

the redevelopment of the sarofim campus and off-site art-storage facilities has been the largest cultural project in north america. steven holl architects designed the overall masterplan, along with the ‘kinder buildin’g and a new home for the glassell school of art. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

steven-holl-kinder-building-museum-of-fine-arts-houston-designboom-1800b

image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
street-level gallery with works by jean tinguely | image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
the lynn wyatt theater | image © richard barnes

kinder building houston
installation view of ai weiwei’s dragon reflection, 2019-20 | image by thomas dubrock

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of carlos cruz-diez’s ‘cromosaturación MFAH’, paris 1965 / houston 2017 | image by thomas dubrock

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of ólafur elíasson’s ‘sometimes an underground movement is an illuminated bridge tunnel’, 2020 | image © richard barnes

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of jason salavon’s ‘little infinity’, 2020 with alberto giacometti’s ‘grande femme debout I (large standing woman I)’, 1960 in the foreground | image by thomas dubrock

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of trenton doyle hancock’s ‘color flash for chat and chew, paris texas in seventy-two’, 2019–2020 | image by thomas dubrock

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of cristina iglesias’ ‘inner landscape (the lithosphere, the roots, the water)’, 2020 | image by thomas dubrock

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
installation view of byung hoon choi’s ‘scholar’s way’, designed 2018 | image © richard barnes

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
image © richard barnes

steven holl completes 'kinder building' for the museum of fine arts, houston
image © richard barnes

 

 

project info:

 

name: nancy and rich kinder building at the museum of fine arts, houston (MFAH)
location: 5500 main street, houston, TX 77004
milestones: january 2012: steven holl architects selected to design MFAH masterplan and the kinder building; june 2017: groundbreaking; march 2019: topping out; november 21, 2020: opening day
dimensions: 237,213 total square feet, on three stories above ground and two below grade; 102,366 square feet of exhibition space for the display of art; 53,685 square feet of parking on two underground levels; 215-seat theater for film screenings; restaurant overlooking the sculpture garden; café at street level on bissonnet street

 

architect: steven holl architects: steven holl, design architect, principal; chris mcvoy, design architect, partner in charge; olaf schmidt, project architect, senior associate; filipe taboada, project architect, associate
project team: rychiee espinosa, yiqing zhao, lourenzo amaro de oliveira, garrick ambrose, xi chen, carolina cohen freue, jongseo lee, vahe markosian, elise riley, christopher rotman, yun shi, alfonso simelio, dimitra tsachrelia, yasmin vobis
associate architects: kendall/heaton associates, inc. | houston; laurence c. burns, jr.; saman ahmadi, principals
restaurant architect: steven harris architects | new york; steven harris, principal, in collaboration with lucien rees roberts
landscape design: deborah nevins & associates in collaboration with nevins & benito landscape architecture, D.P.C. | new york; deborah nevins; mario benito, principals

 

project team —
project manager: matthew snellgrove, legends
structural engineers: cardno haynes whaley guy nordenson and associates
MEP engineer: ICOR associates
civil engineer: walter p. moore & associates
climate engineers: transsolar
lighting consultant: l’observatoire international
cost estimator: venue cost consultants
façade consultant: knippers helbig
glass: gartner permasteelisa
LEED commissioning: loring engineers
water feature: waterscapes
previous coverage: november 2019, september 2020

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