Steven Holl Architects Commissioned to Complete a Program and Masterplan Study for Williams College Department of Art and Museum of Art

New York, NY: April 7, 2016 — Williams College has commissioned Steven Holl Architects to complete a program and master plan study for the Williams College Department of Art and Museum of Art (WCMA). The Master Plan aims to evaluate programming and space needs toward the determination of a program to catalyze the engagement of students, faculty and visitors with the visual arts.

Established in 1793 in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College is among the top liberal arts colleges in the country. The Williams Department of Art is renowned for its accomplished faculty, the breadth and depth of its course offerings and its rich tradition of producing graduates who become leading voices in the visual arts world. The Williams College Museum of Art opened in 1926 to provide students with firsthand observation of and experience with fine works of art. It has grown into a vibrant center for the arts with more than 14,000 works, ranging from ancient Near Eastern artifacts to contemporary art, photography and prints.

Led by Steven Holl Architects, the study for the art department and museum is guided by five broad goals:

– Expand William College’s art presence in the region;
– Connect the arts across campus;
– Shape campus space, connecting interior to exterior;
– Make architecture in complementary relation to the picturesque campus;
– Create inspiring spaces for teaching and exhibiting art.

“Historically one of the most important launching institutions for museum leaders around the world, Williams College extends its dedication to excellence in art education with this new campus development phase,” said Steven Holl.

“It is a great honor to work with the College to enhance the research and teaching spaces of the art department, and to expand WCMA’s unique role as a teaching museum and a regional center for public intellectual life,” added Senior Partner Chris McVoy.

Steven Holl Architects interviewed nearly thirty distinct groups of students, faculty and museum staff to gain insight about how users engage the current WCMA and art department facilities, and to learn about their aspirations for expanding arts on the campus. Concurrently, Steven Holl Architects embarked on an analysis of the existing arts facilities in relation to surrounding context, studying density, geography, climate, movement, and WCMA’s presence within the region as an international arts destination. With the support of many participants, several exciting ideas and potential new building sites are emerging from the ongoing study and planning.

Steven Holl Architects has extensive experience in arts, campus and educational facilities. The office has completed works for, among others, the Glasgow School of Art, Columbia University, MIT, Nelson-Atkins Museum and Kiasma Museum; and it is currently working at Princeton University, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.