THE BLOCH BUILDING AT THE NELSON-ATKINS MUSEUM OF ART CELEBRATES 10 YEARS

09 June 2017
NAMA
10 years ago today the Bloch Building Expansion opened, adding 165,000 sq. ft. of new light filled gallery space to the original Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art building from 1933, creating a landmark of crystalline structures across the museum's vast landscape.

"The Nelson-Atkins Museum at ten years old looks great! It's materials and details were made to last many decades, the spirit...a lifetime." - Steven Holl, June 9, 2017

The project, built in collaboration with BNIM Architects of Kansas City, was selected through an international juried competition in 1999. Driven by the concept of the Stone and the Feather, the addition was built in complementary contrast with its Neoclassical neighbor as a series of lightweight glass lenses scattered throughout the landscape, framing sculpture gardens.

Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic for the New York Times in 2007 had the following remarks:

"By subtly interweaving his building with the museum’s historic fabric and the surrounding landscape, he has produced a work of haunting power. For the art world, the addition, known as the Bloch Building, should reaffirm that art and architecture can happily coexist. (...) He has created a building that sensitizes visitors to the world around them. It’s an approach that should be studied by anyone who sets out to design a museum from this point forward."

- The New York Times, A Translucent and Radiant Partner With the Past, June 6, 2007

Since it's opening, the addition has received great critical acclaim, receiving numerous awards including the 2008 AIA National Honor Award, 2008 AIANY Honor Award, and was one of 7 finalists for the Mies Crown Hall America's Prize in 2014 recognizing the most distinguished architectural works in North & South America.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is featuring the exhibition An Iconic Addition: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Bloch Building on view through January 14, 2018.

On November 2nd, Steven Holl & Chris McVoy will revisit the project for a lecture and series of celebratory events.
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