Houston, Texas – February 8, 2018 – On May 20, 2018, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) will open the doors (and roof) of the new Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The new Glassell School, which includes a public rooftop sculpture garden accessible by walking up the building's gentle incline, is the first phase of a larger campus redevelopment. The new Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus, also designed by Steven Holl Architects, is envisioned as an integral experience open to the community, providing inspiring and inviting public spaces.
The school creates space for the Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, and extension of the 1986 Cullen Sculpture Garden designed by Isamu Noguci; the BBVA Compass Roof Garden above; and below-grade parking below. Inside the school will house naturally-lit spaces for a mix of children and adult students to gather and learn, including a ground-level cafe overlooking the plaza, an Education Court, offices, a forum that opens onto a 75-seat auditorium, and over thirty studios for junior school and core program.
“Our building for the Glassell School of Art is a key part of the overall strategy to shape the public spaces for the entire campus,” said Steven Holl. “The alternating concrete and glass panels create a porosity between indoors and out, and the gathering spaces, including the building’s walkable, sloping roof, provide a civic experience for students and the public alike, with a spectacular view of the neighborhood and city skyline.”
The 85,000-square-foot building is constructed from alternating precast concrete panels and custom cut glass panes. At the structure's maximum height of three-levels, the roof garden will provide dramatic views of the MFAH campus and Houston. The roof garden will be publicly accessible by a gently inclined path that rises from the base at the plaza along one of the building's wings.
“The inventiveness of the forms and the quality of the spaces of the Glassell School of Art distinguish Steven Holl Architects’ building as a truly remarkable architectural statement,” commented MFAH Director Gary Tinterow. “The magnificent new structure creates a seamless integration of architecture and public space, honoring the collaborative spirit of the Glassell School by embracing not only the thousands of students and faculty who will create in its spaces, but the greater public, as well.”
Future phases include the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building for modern and contemporary art by Steven Holl Architects (2020); the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foudnation Center for Conservation by Lake|Flato Architects (2018); and a landscape plan by Deborah Nevins & Associates in collaboration with Nevins Benito Landscape Architecture, D.P.C.(2020).
Follow the last months of construction here.