Houston Museum Capstone Complete: New Kinder Building Wows in Day, Glows at Night

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – With its undulating Pan-fluted façade and evening glow, the newly opened Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston commands attention — by day and by night — on its tricky triangular site in the Museum District.

Descriptions vary on the building’s design presence amid the traditional and mid-century MFAH facilities.

The new building has a trapezoid footprint behind a tree canopy. From above, its structural wings connote a starfish. From the street, it’s a high-style, frosty fortress. At night, it could be a UFO.

$450 million Redevelopment Largest Cultural Project in North  America

Modern in design, the addition to MFAH’s campus increases the cultural institution’s exhibition space by nearly 75 percent. Its spacious open space houses MFAH’s international collections of modern and contemporary art, a growing subset of the museum’s 70,000 objects, which encompass antiquity to today.

Steven Holl Architects designed the landmark project — as well as the master plan that has transformed MFAH’s 14-acre Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim campus, adding new buildings, plazas, gardens, and pedestrian connectivity between new and existing elements.

The Kinder Building represents both capstone and completion of that 10-year effort to integrate and unify the campus, museum people say in preview materials.

PHOTO CREDIT: © Richard Barnes, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The new white museum building is located on Bissonnet Street, south of downtown Houston. PHOTO CREDIT: © Richard Barnes, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Features of the new 237,000 SF Kinder Building include 102,000 SF of exhibition space distributed at entry level, on two upper floors, and in two pedestrian tunnels that connect to MFAH’s existing buildings; a 215-seat theater; underground parking; and a café overlooking the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi. Courtyard gardens and pools are also part of the buildout.

The building’s superstructure is of concrete with steel supporting the floors and trussed roof. The roof, a series of floating planes reportedly inspired by billowing clouds in the Texas sky, is intended as a “luminous canopy” flooding natural light into gallery spaces below and the three-story atrium.

The façade’s translucent glass half-tubes, meanwhile, provide light (and shadow) as well as what architect Steven Holl coined “a cool jacket” on the building to reduce solar gain.

In addition to Holl, the Kinder Building project’s team included:

  • Landscape architecture: Deborah Nevins & Associates, in collaboration with Nevins & Benito Landscape Architecture
  • Project Manager: Legends
  • Structural Engineers: CardnoHaynes Whaley Guy Nordenson and Associates
  • MEP Engineer: ICOR Associates
  • Civil Engineer: Walter P. Moore & Associates
  • Climate Engineers: Transsolar
  • Lighting Consultant: L’Observatoire International
  • Façade Consultant: Knippers Helbig
  • Glass: Gartner Permasteelisa
  • LEED Commissioning: Loring Engineers
  • Water feature: Waterscapes

The Kinder Building held its groundbreaking in June 2017 and topped out in January 2019.

During its construction, two other MFAH projects were completed elsewhere on the campus: the new Glassell School of Art (with its sloping, walkable roofline and monumental stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Cloud Column) and the new Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation, located atop an existing MFAH parking garage. The three new facilities, plus some off-site storage, encompass approximately 650,000 SF of new construction for MFAH as part of its $450 million redevelopment, ranking the project the largest cultural project in North America.

Gary Tinterow, a graduate of Bellaire High School, is the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and he has overseen construction activity since 2011.

Nov. 25, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

Caption: Night photo of new building.from Main at Bissonnet. Photo credit: CALpix.

File: Houston Museum Capstone Complete – the Kinder Building

File: (2) Gary Tinterow. MFAH, Steven Holl Architects. Anish Kapoor. Houston Museum Capstone Complete – the Kinder Building.


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