Herzog & de Meuron beat out 22 design studios, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Johnston Marklee, and OMA, for the chance to design a new building for the Brooks Museum of Art—Tennessee’s oldest and largest art museum—in downtown Memphis. The Swiss firm will work alongside local powerhouse archimania to bring the cultural institution into the 21st century with a new, $105 million facility. Slated to rise on top of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the upgraded Brooks Museum will be part of an ongoing six-mile development aiming to activate the riverfront with parks, walking paths, as well as civic and recreational structures. Studio Gang is at the helm of reimagining the 30-acre industrial site and the museum will serve as its anchor. According to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, the chosen site will be a major economic stimulus for the city and signals its embrace of the Mississippi River as its greatest local asset. Herzog & de Meuron's plan for the Brooks Museum, which is expected to be unveiled early next year, will be 112,000-square-foot in size—a quarter larger than the existing facility in Overton Park—and will feature double the amount of storage and art handling space. It will also include expanded public galleries with room for its prestigious permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions. Classrooms, a theater, a dining area, and a museum store will also be integrated into the design, along with an outdoor sculpture park that’s set to feature rotating public art. In a statement, Executive Director Emily Ballew Neff said the reenvisioned Brooks Museum aims to become a new landmark for the city and she believes the architects will create a “fitting formal response” to the riverfront site and approach the project with “unrivaled sensitivity to materials and craftsmanship.” “Herzog & de Meuron is exceptional among the architectural firms that design art museums for the way it creates galleries for a whole range of art,” she said. “Several architects (at the firm) also happen to have spent formative years in and around Memphis. These team members will provide a kind of local knowledge that will surely contribute.” A strong understanding of this unique western Tennessee landscape will be key in designing the Brooks Museum’s new identity. The building will be constructed on the corner of Front Street and Monroe Street, one block from Memphis’s Main Street to the east and one block from the river to the west. Members of the mound-building Mississippi Culture and, later, the Chickasaw Nation used to occupy the bluff before the Europeans settled the area. In the 19th century, this area served as the city’s old Cotton Row. Today the area is emerging with the rest of downtown Memphis as a major educational, cultural, and business district in which the Brooks Museum is expected to not only spur new development in the urban core, but also attract visitors from all of Tennessee, Northeast Arkansas, and Northern Mississippi.
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At the reopening of the renovated Norton Museum of Art earlier this month, Norman Foster revealed his two points of inspiration for the project: an existing banyan fig tree and Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's Typewriter Eraser, Scale X sculpture from 1999. Both elements were crucial to the architect’s intuitive redesign and reorientation of the museum’s entrance. The new west-facing forecourt features a 43-foot-high metal canopy with a scalloped cutout that cuts around the towering tree. Within the shaded hollow the overhang creates, an embedded reflecting pool surrounds the massive sculpture. This careful approach carries through the entire project. Rather than create another statement-piece museum where the architecture steals the show, Foster + Partners opted for a contextual approach that spotlights the Norton's vast collection. Adding over 12,000 square feet to the original 1941 Art Deco building, the firm introduced a 210-seat auditorium, the museum’s first restaurant, and additional gallery spaces. Major extensions include the new 3,600-square-foot, double-height Ruth and Carl Shapiro Great Hall, featuring a unique concave skylight. The 150-foot-long, glass-walled Ira and Nicki Harris Family Gallery extends from the former south-facing entrance. This addition flanks a covered promenade and a new sculpture garden. Occupying what was originally the Norton Museum of Art’s main 20,000-square-foot parking lot, the green space is Foster’s first ever public landscape project. The sculpture garden divides into two curated "rooms." Native plant species were spread throughout to highlight the museum’s subtropical surroundings. Foster + Partners' renovation blends new and old components with a minimalistic, all white, stone facade. The firm also restored the museum’s existing galleries and six historic artist residence homes, located nearby. The redesign champions historic architectural detailing while also introducing large light-filled voids. The overall reprogramming of the space mirrors the Norton Museum of Art’s curatorial vision; some of the museum's key historical collections are dispersed between temporary shows. The museum places emphasis on exhibiting female, African-American, and living artists. The Norton Museum of Art officially reopened on February 9. This unveiling is only the first milestone in a 20-year masterplan that Foster + Partners has conceived for the museum.
Deep in the Swiss Alps, buried below the remnants of a 12th-century monastery in the town of Susch, is Switzerland’s newest private art museum. Muzeum Susch opened to the public on January 2 and is expected to bring international attention to a village where the population tops out at 200. The museum, designed by the Zurich-based Voellmy Schmidlin Architektur (founded by Chasper Schmidlin and Lukas Voellmy), is the personal project of Grażyna Kulczyk, Poland’s richest woman; she’s the founder of the museum, has fully funded its construction, and the institution will display pieces from Kulczyk’s private collection. This isn’t the first time Kulczyk has attempted to get her museum off (and under) the ground. As the Wall Street Journal noted, Kulczyk had attempted to bring a Tadao Ando–designed collection to Poznan, Poland, in 2008, and later to Warsaw. Both attempts fell through. The completed complex in Susch spans a collection of five existing buildings, most historically protected, which restricted how thoroughly their exteriors could be modified. As such, the two central buildings are connected via an underground passage that took over a year to dig through the mountainous terrain. Muzeum Susch holds over 16,000 square feet of gallery space for rotating and permanent exhibitions, as well as Instituto Susch, an academic institute that will host lectures on gender and art. Acziun Susch, also located on the campus, will instruct on modern choreography. The area’s natural rock formations have been highlighted as heavily as the existing architecture and poke through the staid gallery interiors throughout. A grotto near the museum’s entrance has been left exposed and will serve as a backdrop for future site-specific installations. Kulczyk's ambitions for the museum aren't finished, as she recently announced the purchase of a sixth building for the institution. The museum’s inaugural show, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, has a pointed focus on the work of women artists internationally. The exhibition, curated by Kasia Redzisz, will feature work of many types, from paintings to sculpture to multidisciplinary art and will run through June 30, 2019.
A year after the Jean Nouvel–designed Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, a waterfront arts quarter with buildings from big-name architects, things aren’t entirely rosy. The Austrian steel engineering conglomerate Waagner-Biro, responsible for building the intricately latticed, double-layered dome over the museum, has reportedly declared insolvency due to their involvement in the project. Late payments and inflated costs on the approximately $90 million Louvre offshoot have forced Waagner-Biro to sell its subsidiaries in hope of remaining solvent. The 262-foot-wide dome is made up of almost 8,000 interlocking metal octagons, layered over each other in reference to the mashrabiya, a traditional Islamic sunscreen that shades while allowing air to pass through. The museum below the dome is a loose-knit collection of 23 gallery spaces that together form a layout closer to an open-air market typology than a traditional museum space. Nouvel has described the dome as “an oasis of light”—during the day, the sun filters in from above like starlight, and at night, the museum below causes the roof to glow from within. Waagner-Biro began in 1854 as a locksmith but has grown into a major player in architectural steel installation; the company constructed the spiraling roof of the Great Court in London’s British Museum and the dome of the Reichstag in Berlin. Unfortunately, after costs rose during the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome installation, Abu Dhabi refused to pay and forced Waagner-Biro to shoulder the difference. The firm’s daughter company, SBE Alpha AG, was declared insolvent on October 23 of this year and its financial woes have spread to the rest of the 1,300-employee company. Waagner-Biro has already sold its Waagner-Biro Austria Stage Systems AG subsidiary to Austrian entrepreneur Erhard Grossnigg for restructuring; the offshoot has handled stage engineering work at the Sydney Opera House and Berlin’s State Opera House in the past. While it remains to be seen if Waagner-Biro will be able to emerge from insolvency, that hasn’t been the only piece of bad news for the Louvre Abu Dhabi this week. Salvator Mundi, a portrait of Jesus allegedly painted by Leonardo da Vinci and sold for a record-breaking $450 million last November, has reportedly been feared as lost. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman purchased the painting with the intent of displaying it in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but the September 18 unveiling date has passed without a peep from the prince. The fate of Salvator Mundi, whether it will be put on display in the new Louvre, or how it’s being cared for are now only known to the Saudi royal family.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has revealed a $70 million revamp of its Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, which hosts fine art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Thai architect Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of New York-based wHY Architecture, has been selected to update the wing’s 40,000 square feet of galleries as part of a master plan to modernize the museum ahead of its 150th birthday in 2020. The renovation, slated to begin in 2020 and finish in 2023, will reorganize and celebrate pieces that, when the Rockefeller Wing opened in 1982, were described as being from “the primitive world.” Once wHY completes the overhaul, each gallery in the wing will be flushed with natural light and use the vernacular architecture of the region represented within. From the renderings (the project has only just entered the schematic design phase and may still change), wHY has chosen to cover the ceiling of each gallery in white “ribs.” The walls, partitions, and plinths in each space will share the same stone-like color, creating an unobtrusive yet naturalistic space for viewing the art. As the Met director Max Hollein laid out at a press conference this morning, the goal of renovating the Rockefeller Wing was to better integrate the intertwined histories of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas with the rest of the Met’s collection. The Rockefeller Wing presents art from over half of the globe in a single place, and the history of the artifacts therein is deeply connected with that of Greece, Rome, and every other place typically explored in the “mainstream” art history canon. With the new galleries, said Hollein, this art was coming out of the “heart of darkness,” both literally and figuratively. Embarking on an ambitious plan to reorganize the museum’s galleries would have seemed absurd a year ago, when the Met was struggling to hit its financial goals and growth was stagnant. According to the Met’s president and chief executive Daniel H. Weiss, revenue has been up 41 percent after the museum instituted a mandatory admissions policy for non-New Yorkers in March. The Rockefeller announcement also coincides with Hollein’s 100th day on the job and the Met is hoping that the stabilization of its income and leadership will allow the institution to focus on reactivating its expansion plans and acquiring new contemporary art. Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors is handling a $22 million renovation of the museum’s British decorative arts and sculpture galleries, expected to open in 2020. A $150 million skylight replacement in the European Paintings galleries has closed off half the wing and is expected to wrap up in 2022, but will bathe works by the Dutch masters in the unparalleled light once complete. Perhaps most excitingly, David Chipperfield’s $600 million redevelopment of the Southwest Wing may be back on the table, as the museum is currently scoping out its fundraising options.
Within the last three months, two rustbelt cities have opened international art exhibitions. Cleveland, Ohio, debuted FRONT International in July, and this weekend Pittsburgh opened its 57th Carnegie International. While FRONT sends artists and art-tourists into sites throughout the city, this year’s Carnegie International keeps its art in and around its own house. The exhibition draws visitors to Andrew Carnegie’s immense, turn-of-the-century building—a complex with two museums, a concert hall, and library all under one roof—and proves that its long institutional history is a fertile ground for provocative new work. The notion of an “international” exhibition perhaps still conjures the hubris of the industrialist who founded the show in 1896 to identify the “old masters of tomorrow.” But this year’s curators, Ingrid Schaffner along with Liz Park and Ashley McNelis, aimed to use the exhibition to spark “museum joy.” The curatorial joy is certainly contagious, evident even in the team’s abolition of wall texts, which Schaffner denounces in favor of a bound book developed with Dancing Fox Press that hearkens back to a 19th-century travel guide. By saturating the building with new artwork, the 57th Carnegie International strives to construct new narratives and celebrate the art as a lived experience with architectural and artistic juxtapositions. The exhibition may be bounded by the museum walls, but the 32 artists and collectives, as well as one independent exhibition maker have taken it upon themselves to respond to Pittsburgh’s local histories and regional conditions that still have international resonance. The 57th Carnegie International is open now through March 25, 2019. Admission is free with tickets to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.
Snøhetta has been tapped to design a major expansion to the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. As one of the city and state’s leading arts institutions, the new Joslyn will become a 21st-century cultural destination with increased gallery space, more public programming, and room for arts education opportunities. The Oslo- and New York-based firm will create a masterplan for the museum with a new building designed to “complement and enhance” the original structures on site: the Memorial Building, built in 1931, and the Walter and Suzanne Scott Pavilion, which was designed by Sir Norman Foster and completed in 1994. Craig Dykers, principal of Snøhetta, is proud to work on a project with such a deep cultural heritage that’s rooted in its geography. “Omaha’s place in the great landscape of the American West is a wonderful inspiration to us,” he said in a statement. “Together with Joslyn’s rich collections of art spanning the globe and its dynamic relationship with the communities that sustain it create a powerful platform to begin designing the next phase of its life, for future generations.” The addition of new galleries to the Museum will allow more room for its growing collections and give existing buildings the space to display art that they previously couldn't. This will include work from the museum's historic and contemporary Indigenous collections, which will be further supported by a newly appointed curator of Native American art. The Joslyn, which is free, has seen an increase in admission over the past decade. This expansion may help bring it even more into the global stage of 21st century art institutions.
Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron has released revised renderings for its four-story addition to Berlin's Kulturforum (Culture Forum) complex. The firm's winning entry for the Museum of the 20th Century, first revealed in 2016, is intended to increase gallery space for the Mies van der Rohe–designed Neue Nationalgalerie, store artworks, and connect the different cultural institutions in the area. The design is developed in collaboration with the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Berlin State Museums, and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. The building nods to the nearby Matthew Church in both its materiality and form, with its pixelated brick patterning and a vernacular gabled roof profile. The design also references warehouses, barns, and train stations. News renderings show a building with distinct facades on each side and multiple entry points that open to different parts of the cultural complex and the city, with a central area for showcasing large-scale modernist art. The multiple-entry design also allows for events to take place in a screening theatre outside of regular museum hours. Overall, the museum demonstrates a decidedly urban ethos in fully embracing its surrounding context, from the architecture by van der Rohe and Hans Scharoun to much older structures. According to Jaques Herzog, "Our urban planning concept for the Kulturforum is a concept of density, not of emptiness. It organizes an interplay of buildings put into precise relation with each other, and it also initiates the interaction of the cultural institutions established in those buildings."
The Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, may not be a recognizable name to non-art historians, but with the opening of the institution’s new Pavilions to the public, a 204,000-square-foot collection of galleries, that may all be about to change. The original Glenstone building opened in 2006, as an invitation-only showcase of cofounders Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales’s private collection of post-war art on their property, in the vein of New York City’s Frick Collection. The squat, modernist assemblage, designed by Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, only held 9,000 square feet of gallery space. It’s estimated the facility only welcomed approximately 10,000 visitors from its opening in 2006 through 2013 when the Pavilions were announced. The Pavilions, an assemblage of what appears to be 11 separate volumes, but is actually one interconnected building, was designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners (no strangers to high-end museum design) and vastly expands the Glenstone’s exhibition space. The new complex adds 50,000 square feet of gallery space to the campus, with one room per Pavilion section. Phifer and PWP Landscape Architecture have smartly sited the Pavilions, hiding the double- and triple-height buildings amid 230 acres of restored woodlands. The parking lots have been kept on the opposite side of the property, forcing visitors to take a winding path on which the complex rises and reveals itself along with Jeff Koons’s monumental and ever-changing plant installation, Split-Rocker. Guests must first pass through the new visitors’ center, a smaller Phifer addition that foreshadows what’s to come. The center extends the Pavilions’ presence by using the same material palette; smooth-to-the-touch precast concrete blocks that wrap both the facade and interior, cast-in-place raw concrete ceilings, a terrazzo-epoxy mixture for the floors, full-height windows, and a white maple cladding in the more intimate areas. After descending into the main galleries through the entrance hall, visitors realize that the seemingly disparate volumes spied from outside are all linked by glass hallways and that the pavilions are oriented around an 18,000-square-foot “water court” at ground level. The windows, up to 30-feet-tall in some places, flood the hallways and gallery spaces with natural light, and in the enclosed rooms, clerestory windows and acid-etched skylights create an ever-changing lighting condition. The Pavilions proper were designed around the philosophy of what Emily Wei Rales, also Glenstone’s director, described as “slow art.” The close attention to natural lighting, the spotty cell service, the meandering paths through the landscape, and the guides in each room that will replace information placards, are meant to encourage visitors to slow down and pay close attention to the art. Visiting the Glenstone is free, and the Raleses hope that the changing of the seasons, different weather conditions, and changing light over the course of the day will give guests unique views of the art on each visit. According to Rales, the architecture, landscape, and art are meant to act in harmony and balance each other. Though the Pavilions are a bit austere and over-scaled in places—9 of the 11 rooms are given to a single artist, and some hold only a single piece—small surprises abound. Turning the corner and spotting Martin Puryear’s red Big Phrygian at the end of a hallway is a joyful experience, and noticing how slabs of concrete seem to “float” overhead above the skylights adds an element of danger to sometimes staid rooms. One of the 11 rooms, clad entirely in maple, consists solely of a library, bench, and a massive window that looks out on the landscape, turning the ecosystem and other guests into something to pause and reflect on. Other than the Pavilions and the entrance hall, the $200-million project includes two more intimately scaled cafes and an environmental center that are expected to open in 2019. Glenstone’s newest additions, including the Cafe and Patio buildings, will open their doors to the public on October 4. Visiting hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
OMA has been selected by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) to design the new Jersey City Museum, which will become the largest arts and culture center in Jersey City, New Jersey, once complete. OMA and AEA Consulting will provide architectural and programmatic guidance for the city-owned art museum respectively, while AMO will conduct in-house research and design. The museum is slated to open inside of the 57,000-square-foot Pathside Building near Journal Square and will be Jersey City's largest art center, according to OMA. Despite bearing the Jersey City Museum name, the new museum will reportedly have no connection to the former Jersey City Museum nor use its existing collection. The original Jersey City Museum was founded in 1901, but attendance and fundraising steadily dwindled until the museum shuttered in 2010 and its collection was moved into storage. “Historically, Journal Square was not only a transportation hub but also a cultural center,” said OMA partner-in-charge and project lead Jason Long in a press release. “At a time where museums are increasingly serving as dynamic spaces that engage both local communities and global audiences, we are looking forward to working with the Mayor to transform the Pathside Building into a catalyst for Jersey City’s cultural and civic renaissance.” The five-story Pathside Building is located, fittingly enough, adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station, a heavily trafficked stop on the PATH train line for commuters on their way to and from Manhattan. Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration hopes that the proximity to mass transportation will help draw crowds to the new institution. “This Museum and community space is an incredibly important investment not only for the future of Journal Square, but for our City and region as well,” said Mayor Fulop. “I am excited to continue moving this project forward with the help of OMA/AMO and AEA, who have proven their expertise in museum development, and I am confident that they will help us define our vision for a space that will become a destination for artists and visitors alike.” The Jersey City Museum will focus mainly on visual artists, and a section of the building will be reserved exclusively for local artists. No design details or estimated completion date have been announced yet, but this won't be the first arts institution that the OMA New York office has tackled this year.
Only three weeks after a star-studded shortlist of architects for the Adelaide Contemporary International Design Competition was revealed, arts organization Arts South Australia and competition organizers Malcolm Reading Consultants have chosen the Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Woods Bagot team. The winning plan for the new art gallery and accompanying sculpture park will create a new cultural anchor for the state of South Australia. In their winning scheme, DS+R and Australian firm Woods Bagot have envisioned a dramatically inclined art space for Adelaide’s North Terrace. The arts center will rise on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, and in the brief, teams were asked to design dynamic, but people-friendly, spaces. The team has designed what they call a “charismatic soft beacon” meant to reflect the sky during the day, and glow from the gallery spaces at night, creating an open and inviting atmosphere. The Adelaide Contemporary will include a sunken performance lab with multiple tiers, a “Super Lobby”, floating top-floor galleries, and a rooftop garden that will hang down into the upper levels’ gallery space. The entire building is a mixture of purpose-driven spaces with unique massings and heights, with programming inherently baked into each room’s layout, but its most unique feature is how most of the building will cantilever over the outdoor gallery spaces and public square. By virtue of the competition guidelines, all of the submitted proposals drew from vernacular Aboriginal art and culture, as well as the history and traditions of Adelaide. “The design foregrounds South Australia’s exceptional collections and capitalises on the momentum of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s recent successes in celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture,” said Michael Lynch, chair of the jury and the Art Gallery of South Australia Board’s Special Advisor. “The jury was impressed by the winning team’s assured understanding of the future of art, performance and 21st-century programming, as well as its flair for placemaking.” DS+R and Woods Bagot beat out 107 teams from around the world (from over 500 individual firms), including proposals from studios like David Chipperfield, BIG, Adjaye Associates, and SO-IL. A full list of the received proposals, and views of their submissions, can be viewed here. The full biographies for all nine jury members can be viewed here. No cost estimate or completion date for the project has been released at the time of writing.
according to the Los Angeles Times. Plans call for the complex to include: 25,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space, 10,000 square feet of multipurpose, educational, and performances spaces, and a sculpture terrace with capacity for 1,000 occupants. The proposal aims to stitch together an existing cultural campus in the Pacific Ocean-adjacent enclave that already contains a concert hall and repertory among other uses by activating and extending a grand pedestrian plaza located on the site with a monumental staircase inspired by the steps at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, according to Thom Mayne, principal and founder of Morphosis. The museum, tucked into a hillside beside the staircase, would connect a lower plaza marked by a vertically oriented, Richard Serra-designed sculpture with the new sculpture plaza located atop the stairs. The upper plaza will hold another large sculptural element, according to the renderings. A linear tree promenade will extend horizontally from the upper plaza over the southern edge of the site, cantilevering over ground floor areas. Under the current proposal, roughly 70 percent of the site will be left open or contain public outdoor spaces. Inside the complex, a variety of multi-functional public spaces like a public amphitheater and flexible gallery spaces will invite the public into the building. Renderings of these spaces depict multi-story volumes framed in glass and striated paneling, with sky-bridges and monumental stairs carving through many of the spaces. The striated, shape-shifting structure will among be the final components of the arts complex in the city and is being planned with a future 10,000-square-foot expansion in mind. As such, its design will reflect the urban nature of the complex site, according to the designers. Plans call for OCMA to vacate its existing facilities this fall, with temporary facilities opening in 2019 nearby. Construction on the new museum is slated to begin in 2019 with the complex expected to be complete by 2021.