Mighty Morphin Museum

Texas Tech taps Morphosis to design museum expansion

Architecture Education Southwest
Morphosis will create a masterplan for the expansion of the Musuem of Texas Tech University. (Courtesy the Museum of Texas Tech University)
Morphosis will create a masterplan for the expansion of the Musuem of Texas Tech University. (Courtesy the Museum of Texas Tech University)

Morphosis has announced that it is developing a design and masterplan for a 150,000 square-foot expansion of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Established in 1929, the museum moved to its current 238,000 square-foot facility in 1970 and is cited as the largest and most diverse university museum in the nation. In its main building, it houses a massive collection of 8 million objects representing the range of subjects taught at Texas Tech and provides students and community members with relevant programming. Also part of the museum’s facilities are the Lubbock Lake Landmark, the Natural Science Research Laboratory, and the Moody Planetarium.

According to a press release, the new Morphosis-designed masterplan will expand the focus of the museum beyond its permanent collections and will reflect the breadth of innovation happening at the university. The design of the “Universiteum of Texas Tech” will be led by firm founder Thom Mayne and principal Arne Emerson and will add 40,000 square-feet of flexible gallery space, a community engagement center, more laboratories, work areas, and a collection of storage facilities to the existing museum on the university’s campus in Lubbock, Texas.

The Museum of Texas Tech University moved into its current 238,000 square-foot facility in 1970, and it includes the Lubbock Lake Landmark, the Natural Science Research Laboratory, and the Moody Planetarium. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

“We envision our design to act as a connector that knits together the existing museum and cultural buildings with the larger Texas Tech campus,” Emerson told The Architect’s Newspaper, “while providing a new gateway that engages the existing building and planetarium in a dialogue.”

The architects will draw upon the rich history and ecology of the Western High Plains to develop a masterplan that highlights the school’s leadership in research and creativity across its various disciplines including STEM, health sciences, humanities, and the arts. The project is expected to also showcase a new model for university-community engagement.

The new Universiteum will add additional research space for students within the university’s Museum Science and Heritage Management programs, and it will also act as a gathering place for the public to further engage in special exhibitions and programming. In addition, it will feature the first large traveling exhibition gallery capable of housing major blockbuster shows in West Texas.

The Museum of Texas Tech University is Morphosis’s second museum project in Texas. Their design for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened in Dallas in 2012.

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