Remarkable Art Museum Expansions Across America



Asia Society is the leading pan-Asian organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. They recently opened their new Yoshio Taniguchi-designed home in April.


“Those facilities include the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, an auditorium, a café, additional space for Menil archives and buildings devoted to the work of individual artists.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What the New Collection of Menil Collections Might Look Like

The firm of British architect David Chipperfield has been selected to design a master plan for the expansion of the Menil Collection campus. What’s to be added?

Those facilities include the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, an auditorium, a café, additional space for Menil archives and buildings devoted to the work of individual artists.

The Menil Foundation is also interested in developing “income-producing properties” along the coming Richmond rail line, reports Douglas Britt in the Houston Chronicle.

Fitting in so many new buildings, of course, will be a lot easier once the Menil decides which of its many neighboring properties it wants to knock down. And owning 30 acres in the area means there are plenty of possibilities!

Which will go first? The gray-washed arts bungalows? The small rental properties? Richmond Hall? Richmont Square?

* * *

Chipperfield, one of six architects initially in the running for the planning job, presented four initial ideas to a Menil committee. “Chipperfield is incredibly open and flexible,” Menil deputy director Emily Todd tells Britt.

Those preliminary schemes don’t appear to have been released, but British website Building includes these images with its report of the Chipperfield selection:

Resized and spliced together, they appear to be a much-wider-angled version of this view of the Menil campus looking south from Sul Ross, just east of Mulberry minus, of course, all those oaks.

The large porticoed structure on the right appears to represent the Menil itself. Notable also: the small brownish building just left of center looks to be one of the few Menil bungalows left standing in this scheme — several of them now line the south side of Branard.



Thinking Big

By Posted 05/29/12

Gary Tinterow returns to Texas to run the Museum of Fine Arts—and to grow it even larger

“My role will be different than it ever could have been at the Met,” says Tinterow of his new position in Houston.


Gary Tinterow is having his Proustian moment. After leaving Houston 40 years ago to attend Brandeis University in Massachusetts and then graduate school at Harvard, he spent almost three decades at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, since 2008 as chairman of the department of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Earlier this year, Tinterow returned to his hometown to take over the directorship of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He felt well prepared for the job but not for the rush of dormant memories triggered by certain smells or voices.

“When I left for college, I couldn’t get far enough away from Texas,” said Tinterow during a brief trip back to New York in February for the Met’s opening of “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde,” organized under his stewardship. “I wanted to go to an environment with brick sidewalks and gas lamps, someplace historic. Houston I felt was all about new. Coming back, the big change for me is how great it feels to be in Houston.” Indeed, the tall, willowy 58-year-old, who often seemed in perpetual motion in the galleries at the Met, projects a new sense of calm.

Tinterow is returning to a museum—he interned under the former MFAH director William Agee in 1975 and 1976—that was formative to his early love of art. He has indelible memories of sketching the Mies van der Rohe– designed pavilion as a teenager and of seeing a show of Color Field paintings by Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis, and Jules Olitski. Tinterow feels lucky to have inherited such a financially healthy institution from his predecessor, Peter Marzio, who died in late 2010. During his 28-year tenure, Marzio built the encyclopedic collections to 63,000 objects and oversaw the Rafael Moneo–designed expansion that opened in 2000, making the museum one of the ten largest in the country. Its endowment is valued at approximately $1 billion, behind only the Getty’s and the Metropolitan’s. Underway for some time have been plans for a third museum building, to house modern and contemporary collections. The institution acquired a two-acre site, currently a parking lot, across the street from the two museum buildings and adjacent to both its Isamu Noguchi–designed sculpture garden and Glassell School of Art. In February, with Tinterow’s input, the museum named Steven Holl as the project architect.

“Among the most compelling of Holl’s ideas on a practical basis was the proposal to excavate two floors of underground parking underneath the entire new museum site and Glassell School, allowing for a low-rise building that would be respectful of Moneo and Mies,” says Tinterow of the structure, which will likely connect by tunnel under the street to the existing galleries. He also feels that Holl’s proposal to use a translucent skin of milky glass that would glisten by day and be illuminated by night would provide a harmonious contrast with the black steel of the Mies building and the limestone of the Moneo. He estimates that the overall project will cost from $250 to $300 million, and at the top of his to-do list is to begin raising the money.

If spearheading a new building from the ground up is a monumental project, Tinterow anticipates it being easier than the challenge he just left: negotiating an outpost for the Metropolitan’s modern and contemporary art in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Madison Avenue building once the Whitney’s staff and collections move to its new home downtown, in 2015. Tinterow first had the epiphany for an off-site facility while looking at the back of the head of Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate in London, who was sitting a few rows in front of him on a plane in 2008. “I thought, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Britain—Met Modern, Met,” he recalls saying to himself as he realized there was going to be an empty building on Madison. While he received immediate interest in the idea from then-chairman of the Whitney board Leonard Lauder and former Metropolitan director Philippe de Montebello, bringing the Met’s trustees on board took much longer than he expected. Last May, both institutions agreed in principle to a multiyear collaboration.

“The Met’s trustees asked very tough questions, as they should given their role as governors of the institution,” says Tinterow, noting the museum’s complicated and sometimes contentious relationship with contemporary art, dating back a century to when trustee J. Pierpont Morgan questioned what the Met was doing buying the work of the contemporary French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Yet Tinterow feels the perception of the Metropolitan’s resistance to contemporary art was a gift to him because anything he was able to accomplish in that area looked significant. He is particularly proud of how he enlivened the rooftop garden with works by living artists, including Cai Guo-Qiang, Roxy Paine, Jeff Koons, and Mike and Doug Starn—who, with a team of rock climbers, continually constructed a monumental bamboo structure with internal pathways, which visitors could traverse, throughout the course of the 2010 exhibition.

“There were many naysayers, but in fact ‘Big Bambú’ was a spectacular success, a great work of art, and the public loved it,” says Tinterow. “It really gave the Met a different sensibility.” During his tenure, Tinterow organized more than 40 exhibitions, built up the museum’s great collection of 19th-century paintings, and addressed some of the holes in the 20th-century collection with, for instance, the acquisition of the Metropolitan’s first major Rauschen­berg.

While Tinterow unequivocally refers to the Metropolitan as “the greatest museum in the world,” he clearly has settled into his new life. “Texans like to think big,” says Tinterow, who relishes the space and light of the new house he bought with his partner and has found a dog sitter as well as a tuner for his harpsichord, which he hopes he will find more time to practice. He wants to build on Marzio’s active engagement with the city’s diverse communities and provide opportunities for young people to have the kind of experiences that he had as a kid there, zooming around the museum district on his bike.

Tinterow hopes to work with other museums in the district and with the city to create a more pedestrian-friendly zone—with better crosswalks, more cafés, and retail stores, the kind of amenities that will encourage people to stay longer in the area. “That’s where my role will be different than it ever could have been at the Met,” he says. “In these early days, the opportunities seem infinite. In New York, I knew all too well what would not be possible. I don’t yet know that about Houston and I hope I never find out.”

Hilarie M. Sheets is a contributing editor of ARTnews.

Copyright , ARTnews LLC, 48 West 38th St 9th FL NY NY 10018. All rights reserved.

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Architizer News

Chipperfield’s Museum Expansion Set To Finally Open In St. Louis

February 15, 2013


It’s been a long time coming, but  Sir David Chipperfield‘s expansion of the St. Louis Art Museum is finally scheduled to open later this year.

The museum, which houses one of the most comprehensive art collections in the United States (including an impressive catalog of post-war German artists), is located in the city’s large urban landscape, Forest Park. In 2005, the Museum Board selected Chipperfield to design the expansion, with St. Louis-based HOK serving as the project’s architect of record. Two years later the Museum finally released plans and renderings of the design, which sparked controversy among local residents.

Halted in 2008 during the economic downturn, the project did not break ground until 2010. Now, eight years in the making, the expansion—Chipperfield’s largest U.S. project to date—will finally open this summer. Read more.



Featuring a polished concrete façade that incorporates Missouri river aggregates, innovative skylights, and large windows, the new East Building design is decidedly more modern than the Beaux Arts-style building designed by Cass Gilbert for the 1904 World’s Fair. The modern design was actually a point of controversy among some residents, who feared the addition would clash with the iconic building. Thankfully, Chipperfield’s design provides a seamless transition between the two buildings, featuring a distinctive coffered ceiling that provides natural light and dynamic viewing experiences within the galleries. The oscillation of daylight was one of the central themes behind the design of the space, and which creates better light conditions to view the artworks as well as highlighting the architecture of the galleries. The new building, which sits on over 211,000 square feet, includes 21 new galleries as well as a new parking garage (an important amenity for a city so reliant on car travel!)



All photos: via St. Louis Art Museum 

While the St. Louis Art Museum is a public institution supported by regional property tax, the expansion was funded entirely through private donations. The construction of the expansion, which totaled $130 million, was the largest capital campaign for a cultural institution in the history of the city. The museum will be open  to all, and admissions will be free, following a 100-year old ordinance that uses regional property tax to cover the operating costs of the city’s cultural institutions. Continuing it’s commitment to the local community, the construction of the East Building has allowed for the expansion of the education infrastructure, creating new classrooms and study spaces within the building, as well as renovations to the 480-seat auditorium.



St. Louis Art Museum debuts $160 million expansion

Located in one of America’s most splendid urban parks, next to one of St. Louis’ grandest structures, the new East Building at the St. Louis Art Museum aspires to be adored on its own terms.

White oak floors and a dark polished facade, skylights and concrete coffers – the East Building is both airy and weighty.

On June 29, St. Louisans get their first look at the building and the museum’s extensive modern and contemporary art collection. Even director Brent Benjamin is amazed by the experience.

“I’ve seen the objects but never the extent and quality of this material out at one time,” said Benjamin. “The fact that we were able to more than double the presentation of the postwar material, but also increase the presentation of everything from Asian art to antiquities to African art to European art, is extraordinary.”

Designed by acclaimed British architect David Chipperfield, the Gold LEED-certified East Building is 210,000 square feet and features 21 galleries, a 300-space underground garage, a restaurant and a gift shop. The $160 million project also includes new classrooms, flooring and updated galleries in the main and south buildings, as well as $30 million to pay for increased operating costs.

“Visitors expect a gracious experience, and they should have it,” Benjamin said. “It seems kind of prosaic, but it’s really important.”


St. Louis Art Museum Grand Opening Celebration

When • 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 30

Where • St. Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive

How much • Free


Art Museum highlights

Twenty-one new galleries, 230 works of art.

The new East Building of the St. Louis Art Museum will offer art lovers a fresh look at some of contemporary art’s best works. Some pieces, such as Tony Smith’s “Free Ride,” have been locked in storage for decades; others, such as Donald Judd’s “Untitled,” have been on view, but never side-by-side with their acclaimed contemporaries.

Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol — all of the big names of modern art are represented. So are today’s hottest artists — Gerhard Richter, Kiki Smith, Kerry James Marshall and St. Louis’ own Tom Friedman.

Here, Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art, and Tricia Paik, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, highlight of the most intriguing works featured in the new permanent exhibition space “A New View: Contemporary Galleries” and “Postwar German Art in the Collection,” the first exhibit in the East Building’s special exhibition galleries.

Robert Motherwell

“In Beige with Sand,” 1945

Influenced by European surrealists, Robert Motherwell was one of the youngest and most prolific members of the New York School, which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline. In this earlier work, Motherwell uses a number of media including sand and wood veneer.

“His best-known works play with stripes and circles and this one does too. You can see him looking forward to the later black and white paintings,” Kelly said.

Mark Rothko

“Red, Orange, Orange on Red,” 1962

Visitors will get a real “wow” moment as the enter the abstract expressionism gallery. This Mark Rothko painting literally glows with color.

“It’s really spectacular experience,” Kelly said. “He builds up these thin layers of luminous pigment to create these really wonderful, floating blocks of color. To me, it is abstract but it also suggest landscape. You have a sense of a horizon line and sunrise.”

Philip Guston

“Room 112,” 1957

Philip Guston served as an instructor at Washington University in the 1940s. He was replaced by another famous artist with a huge presence at the St. Louis Art Museum — Max Beckmann. The museum owns five of Guston’s paintings, including two featured in the New York School gallery — the colorful, abstract piece “Room 112” and the more monochromatic work, “Group 1.”

Tony Smith

“Free Ride,” 1962

Like many of the works returning to view, “Free Ride” required significant conservation. Specialists managed to restore the work’s dark, rich tone after years of outdoor exposure corroded its painted steel surface. This major work, one of an edition of three, reflects Tony Smith’s core interest in arranging cubic forms.

“In this case the composition was originally based on three Alka-Seltzer boxes he just started playing around with on a table,” Kelly said.

“Curtains,” 1962

Roy Lichtenstein

The East Building features two complementary Lichtensteins, the black-and-white painting “Curtains” and the ceramic sculpture “Black and White Head,” which the museum lent out for the recent traveling Roy Lichtenstein retrospective.

“There is this interest in suburban America in pop art of the 1960s,” Kelly said. “What’s interesting to me is the ironic element of their work that does critique of the grand aspirations of the abstract expressionists. The very fact he chooses curtains as the subject of a painting is interesting.”

Ellsworth Kelly 

“Spectrum II,” 1966-67

One of Ellsworth Kelly’s renowned “Spectrum” works, “Spectrum II” is a series of painted panels connected to create a single, almost glowing work. Like many of the works in this gallery, “Spectrum” is enormous — almost 23 feet long. The new East Building with its 16-foot ceilings and large galleries gives breathing room to works like Donald Judd’s “Untitled ” and Frank Stella’s 25-foot “Madinat as-Salam III.”

Richard Serra

“Untitled,” 1968

St. Louisans have been walking in and around the steel sculptures of Richard Serra for years. There is the 1981 sculpture “Twain,” located on the Gateway Mall and the 2000 work, “Joe,” located in the courtyard of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. This earlier work, however, is made of rubber and lies flat. Serra mixed rubber with orange paint and poured it on a corrugated iron door to create three separate mats. The work has not been show in almost a decade.

“People don’t know his rubber pieces so well and I think it will be eye-opening for people,” Kelly said. “It is an important piece and it needs to be better known.”

Louise Nevelson

“New Continent,” 1962

Born in Russia, but obsessed with New York, Louise Nevelson called herself the original recycler. For “New Continent,” one of Nevelson’s famed wall sculptures, she scavenged the streets of New York for table legs, spindles and other found objects. Today, many artists transform trash into art, but in the 1960s, her approach was as curious as it was compelling.

Chuck Close

“Keith, 1970”

One of the best known works of the collection, “Keith” is a black-and-white large-scale painting of a photograph of friend Keith Hollingworth. Chuck Close used an airbrush to create the smooth surface yet the details — pores, wrinkles and hair — provide texture. Kelly calls it one of Close’s best works.

Tom Friedman

“Untitled (Seascape),” 2012

John Burroughs School and Washington University graduate Tom Friedman is an international art superstar. Known best for colorful, conceptual and often comic sculptures, “Untitled (Seascape)” is a folded piece of archival paper, creased to create the impression of moving waves.

“It’s an abstract but it speaks to the sea,” Kelly said. “One of the things I like about it is it has a great relationship with artistic tradition. You think of the photographer (Hiroshi) Sugimoto or Gerhard Richter seascapes and the minimalistic compositions of Gustave Le Gray. This is what he has done but has given it his own twist by the way he has created the sea in this clever way.”

El Anatsui

“Fading Cloth,” 2005

El Anatsui stitches together thousands of crushed metal caps and twisted foil wrappers from liquor bottles to create monumental wall sculptures that look like ornate undulating tapestries.

Grave Stele of Kallistrate, late 5th–early 4th century BC

The new East Building does feature one gallery of ancient art. One reason is practical: Located near the front door, these ancient objects of stone can stand up to fluctuations in climate better than their fragile counterparts of today. But the other reason is symbolic, says Lisa Çakmak, assistant curator of ancient art.

“The art in this gallery really is the beginning of art in the Western tradition,” Çakmak said. “The art of Renaissance Europe finds its origins in ancient Greece and Rome and that morphed into post-Renaissance, all the way to modern and contemporary. It’s sort of the great-great-great-great-grandfather of modern and contemporary Western art.”

Special exhibition galleries  

Gerhard Richter

“Betty,” 1988

Gerhard Richter made headlines in May when his painting “Domplatz, Mailand” sold for $37 million, a record for a work by a living artist. The previous record? That would be $34 million in 2012 for Richter’s work “Abstraktes Bild.”

Paik says his iconic work “Betty,” one of eight showcased in “Postwar German Art in the Collection,” is a prime example of his photorealistic painting techniques. She calls “Betty” the museum’s “un-‘Mona Lisa.'”

Joseph Beuys

“Felt Suit,” 1970

The museum dedicates an entire gallery to Joseph Beuys and the artists he taught and influenced. Paik calls him one of the last great Utopian painters of the 20th century. Beuys frequently used felt in his works believing the material offered warmth and healing. He wore this work in a performance piece protesting the Vietnam War.

“He’s someone who really tried to redefine what constituted art because he made artworks that were performances and participatory and ephemeral,” Paik said. “And yet, he still loved the art object. He valued them both.”

Georg Baselitz

“Seated Male Nude — Morocco,” 1976

Neo-expressionist pioneer Georg Baselitz is known today for his large-scale wooden sculptures, but in the 1960s he gained acclaim for paintings featuring upside-down people, buildings and landscapes.

“He is trying to slow down your understanding of the perception of the work by inverting it,” Paik said.

Anselm Kiefer

“Burning Rods,” 1984-87

In his meditation on both Egyptian mythology and the Chernobyl disaster, Anselm Kiefer uses lead, straw, porcelain, and iron to create “Burning Rods.”

Markus Lupertz

“Titan,” 1986

The 8-foot tall “Titan” looks out onto phase one of the art museum’s new sculpture garden. Unlike the ancient Greeks who created gods from polished marble, Markus Lupertz gives his hero a craggy face and clumsy hands. Still the effect is powerful.

“I like the way he’s peeking out of the space, almost like a threatening presence when you walk in,” Paik said.

Albert Oehlen

“Assistance in Drawing,” 1995

Like many artists in the 1980s, Albert Oehlen is exploring the nature of painting and drawing, first creating more figurative work before embracing abstraction.

“He’s exploring how you draw in different ways,” explained Paik. “There are these grand gestures and shapes but then these intimate and minute gestures used with ballpoint pen. He talks a lot about how he uses both expensive materials and cheap pigments.”

Thomas Struth

“Pantheon, Rome,” 1990

German photographer Thomas Struth has created monumental photographs of cities, rainforests and families. But some of his best-known works are pictures of museums or rather of the spectators who flock to them, awed by their grandeur.


Michael F. McElroy for The New York Times

A wall-size screen at the Cleveland Museum of Art shows all the objects on display. Visitors can use iPads to devise their own tours


Cleveland Museum reopens entrance after seven-year refit

Vast atrium designed to be city’s new meeting space

By Pac Pobric. Web only
Published online: 05 November 2012

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s new 39,000 sq. ft Ames Family Atrium (Photo: Howard Agriesti)

Seven years after starting the project, the Cleveland Museum of Art officially opened its 39,000 sq. ft Ames Family Atrium on Sunday (29 October). The new space is part of a $350m expansion and modernisation, which is due to be completed in late 2013.

“The reason this has taken so long is that the entire campus was redone,” says David Franklin, the museum’s director. “The 1916 building was retrofitted and made state of the art, and [architect] Rafael Viñoly cleared away everything except for the original building and the 1971 Marcel Breuer wing. It will be a brand new museum by the end of 2013,” adding, “We’re right on budget.”

Around 40 local cultural groups took part in the opening, which highlighted the atrium as a civic space for discussion. The aim was to “symbolically return the museum to the city,” Franklin says. “We’re embracing as much as possible the full mosaic of cultural organisations in Cleveland. Each group will have its moment to shine”.

The festivities coincided with the opening of the show “Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes” (until 6 January 2013) and the unveiling of “Provenance”, the museum’s new restaurant, as well as a new museum store.

Steve Stephens | Dispatch photosThe Armor Court is one of the most popular displays at the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Five Things You Should Know About the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

By Stephanie Murg on November 8, 2012 2:33 PM

(Photo: Dean Kaufman)

With the ballots counted and the electoral votes tallied, the world can stop referring to Ohio using battle metaphors and take notice of what’s really swinging in the Buckeye State: art museums. There’s the reliably stellar Wexner Center (the first major public building designed by Peter Eisenman) in Columbus, Zaha Hadid‘s Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, and the Akron Art Museum, which in 2007 gained a soaring glass and steel structure by Coop Himmelb(l)au. But the big news is in Cleveland, where a Rafael Viñoly-designed expansion project is in full swing at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland is now welcoming visitors to its new $27.2 million home (above) by Farshid Moussavi. We paid a visit to MOCA Cleveland and have returned to offer these five informational morsels about the sleek and surprising new building–and what’s inside.

5. With six irregularly faceted sides clad primarily in mirror-finish black stainless steel, the 34,000-square-foot building’s striking exterior never looks the same twice. Moussavi happened upon the dusky Rimex paneling after her first choice (anodized gold aluminum) was nixed by the museum’s board of directors. “We discovered that this black steel acquired different dynamics when applied to our shape, with its surfaces that are tilted to different orientations and that catch the light differently,” said Moussavi during the museum’s opening weekend festivities. “It started playing with time.”

4. Visitors step inside to the “urban living room,” an airy ground floor space that includes the museum cafe and shop. Linger as long as you want: admission is only charged for those who ascend the craggy white central staircase to the exhibitions. First up, in the cozy second floor gallery, is David Altmejd’s largest vitrine piece to date, “The Orbit” (2012), a labyrinth of tumbling fruit, furry hands, and disembodied eyeballs. This marks the first time the artist has incorporated architectural elements into one of his Plexiglas-enclosed worlds. “I always deal with structures and of course I’m always confronted with their limitations,” the artist said in an interview with chief curator David Norr. “But I like the idea of constantly breaking that limitation.”

3. MOCA Cleveland director Jill Snyder had three main goals for the non-collecting institution’s new home. “What we strived for was flexibility, transparency, and sustainability,” she told us. Among the features of the soon-to-be-LEED-Silver-certified building are floors stacked to offer glimpses of usually behind-closed-doors museum functions (admin offices, the wood workshop, the loading dock), enclosed fire stairs that double as a sound gallery, and, underneath the adjoining public plaza, geothermal wells.

2. The inside of the building shell is painted dark, matte blue (think Yves Klein ultramarine at midnight). It’s the museum’s new signature color and Moussavi’s ingenious way of both eschewing the typical white box and linking the building’s eccentric exterior to the program inside–while not clashing with the art. “It is part of the dark shell. It’s the inside of it,” said Paul Westlake of Westlake Reed Leskosky, which served as architect-of-record, structural engineer, and lighting designer for the new MOCA Cleveland. “And on one reading, it’s only black. It’s just dark. And on the second reading, it’s color.”

1. Having faced and cleared the hurdles imposed by the recent global financial crisis during a six-year process of fundraising, design, and building, MOCA Cleveland is one sexy museum. “I’m reminded of the words of a friend of mine, who said that the process of doing a building like this is like having sex in the backseat of car: it’s terribly exciting, but it’s not very comfortable,” said Westlake. “That’s what this design process was like.”



Friday, September 16, 2011

TRANSFORMER STATION – 8,000 sq. ft. museum space.

Cleveland Museum of Art announces Ohio City gallery

Come this time next year, Ohio City will have a more contemporary feel.The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation will open the exhibition space Transformer Station on West 29th Street. Built in the 1920s as a power station for the Detroit Avenue streetcar line, the Transformer Station will be renovated and expanded into an 8,000-square-foot space for art programs, exhibitions and installations.“It’s an opportunity to extend our reach to more Northeast Ohioans, specifically to this important and vibrant West Side of the city,” said David Franklin, the art museum’s director, in a press conference this morning.The Transformer Station will be the museum’s first separate space outside University Circle. “Fundamentally, it strengthens our ancient mission of benefiting all the people forever,” Franklin said.Fred Bidwell, co-founder and co-director of the Bidwell Foundation, said they chose the building to showcase art because of its industrial feel. And there’s an huge crane on the ceiling that can lift 15 tons. Who doesn’t need that?“The diversity, the grit, the intimacy, the urbanity of Ohio City, with its dynamic art scene, we felt was a perfect place for this showplace for the contemporary art,” said Bidwell in the press conference.The hopes are to have the Transformer Station open in late 2012. Franklin wants to encourage curators and collaborators to use the space as a laboratory and set up installations more spontaneously. This space will also allow young and local artists to show their work on the same floor as international artists.City councilman Joe Cimperman, who represents Ohio City, thanked the Bidwells for opening the Transformer Station. “This neighborhood takes this gift very seriously,” he said. “We take you as gifts very seriously. We cherish what you’re doing here, and we are all too well aware that you could have done this anywhere.”

Cimperman predicted the gallery would become important to the neighborhood’s future. “One day, in this building there will be children like me — who grew up on East 74th Street — [who,] but for the arts, would not be able to live the life they lived. So, if you want to know what you are doing today for this community, look 20 years from now to the generation that you are fostering.


Denver Art Museum / Daniel Libeskind

  • 05 Oct 2010
© Bitter Bredt

Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Location: Denver, Colorado,
Joint Venture Partner: Davis Partnership
Contractor: M.A Mortensen Co. (Colorado)
Structural Engineer: Arup (Los Angeles)
Structural Connection Design: Structural Consultants, Inc.
Civil Engineers: JF Sato and Associates
Mechanical Air: Arup-Los Angeles
Mechanical/Electrical: MKK Engineers and Arup (Los Angeles)
Structural Engineers: ARUP (Los Angeles)
Structural Connection Design: Structural Consultants, Inc.
Civil Engineers: JF Sato and Associates
Interior Designers: Studio with Davis Partnership
Landscape Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind with Davis Partnership
Lighting Consultant: George Sexton and Associates
Theater Consultant: Auerbach Pollock Friedlander
Acoustical Consultant: ARUP (Los Angeles)
Exterior Façade Consultant: Gordon H Smith, ARUP, BCE;
Project Area: 146,000 sq ft
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Bitter Bredt, DAM, SDL, Michele Nastasi

The Extension to the Denver Art Museum, The Frederic C. Hamilton Building, is an expansion and addition to the existing museum, designed by the Italian Architect Gio Ponti. Inspired by the vitality and growth of Denver, the addition currently houses the Modern and Contemporary art collections as well as the collection of Oceanic and African Art. The extension, which opened in October 2006, was a joint venture with Davis Partnership Architects, the Architect of Record, working with M.A. Mortensen Co.

ground floor plan

To complete the vision for the extension Studio Daniel Libeskind worked closely with the director, curators, core exhibition team, the contract architect and the Board of Trustees. Since its opening, the new building has become a major cultural landmark for Denver, attracting thousands of visitors to the museum complex.

© Bitter Bredt
© Bitter Bredt

“Nexus is conceived in close connection with the function and aesthetic of the existing Ponti museum, as well as the entire Civic Center and public library. The new building is a kind of city hub, tying together downtown, the Civic Center, and forming a strong connection to the golden triangle neighborhood. The project is not designed as a stand alone building, but as part of a composition of public spaces, monuments and gateways in this developing part of the city, contributing to the synergy amongst neighbors, large and intimate.

“The materials of the building closely relate to the existing context as well as innovative new materials (such as titanium) which together will form spaces that connect local Denver tradition to the 21st Century.

section 01
© Bitter Bredt

“The amazing vitality and growth of Denver — from its foundation to the present — inspires the form of the new museum. Coupled with the magnificent topography with its breathtaking views of the sky and the Rocky Mountains, the dialogue between the boldness of construction and the romanticism of the landscape creates a unique place in the world. The bold and forward looking engagement of the public in forging its own cultural, urban and spirited destiny is something that would strike anyone upon touching the soil of Colorado.

© Bitter Bredt

“One of the challenges of building the Denver Art Museum was to work closely and respond to the extraordinary range of transformations in light, coloration, atmospheric effects, temperature and weather conditions unique to this City. I insisted these be integrated not only functionally and physically, but culturally and experientially for the benefit of the visitors’ experience.

© Bitter Bredt

“The new building is not based on an idea of style or the rehashing of ready made ideas or external shape because its architecture does not separate the inside from the outside or provide a pretty facade behind which a typical experience exists; rather this architecture has an organic connection to the public at large and to those aspects of experience that are also intellectual, emotional, and sensual. The integration of these dimensions for the enjoyment and edification of the public is achieved in a building that respects the hand crafted nature of architecture and its immediate communication from the hand, to the eye, to the mind. After all, the language of architecture beyond words themselves is the laughter of light, proportion and materiality.”

One thought on “Remarkable Art Museum Expansions Across America

  1. The Denver Art Museum is one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast, with a collection of more than 70,000 works of art divided between 10 permanent collections including African, American Indian, Asian, European and American, modern and contemporary, pre-Colombian, photography, Spanish Colonial, textile, and western American art. Our holdings reflect our city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world.

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