“Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Is Proof That Everything Really Is Bigger In Texas”

"In 2012 the museum launched a competition to find the right architect for its grand ambition. Steven Holl, the man behind the Kennedy Center’s REACH expansion in 2019, won by unanimous vote. First, he was the only one to propose putting all parking underground so as not to use up acreage on lots. Then he recommended erecting a new, larger building for the museum’s Glassell School of Art (completed in 2018), thereby expanding the sculpture garden designed by Isamu Noguchi. “I said it would be a little bit bigger than Dallas’s sculpture garden,” Holl says. “I think that’s what got them.”
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The ceiling’s concave curves bring in natural light, and the entire building is clad in hollow glass tubes that trap hot air, creating a natural cooling effect. . . And, yes, the building is made for a post-pandemic world: good air circulation and an abundance of outdoor space. It is surrounded by reflecting pools, fountains, oak trees, and courtyards. “You have this feeling of porosity,” Holl says. “It brings the landscape in.”

words by Leena Kim for Town and Country Magazine
photograph by Peter Molick