Posts tagged with "art museums":

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Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History converts a horse stable into a powerful space

Situated just one block west of the archi­tecturally rich University of Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African American History is undertaking a major preserva­tion effort. Located directly across from the Daniel Burnham–designed DuSable, the Roundhouse, a former horse stable also designed by Burnham, has laid vacant for over 40 years. Yet over the past de­cade, the DuSable Museum has worked to convert the heavy timber and stone struc­ture into additional exhibition space. The DuSable Museum began work­ing on converting the building in the mid- 2000s only to have the project stall thanks to the economic recession in 2008. By 2009, a renovation of the building’s exte­rior was complete, but the interior was left far from the museum-quality space the DuSable was hoping to achieve. To bring the 61,000-square-foot space up to mu­seum standards, it would cost upward of $35 million. Unable to raise those funds, the project has taken a new direction, which will see scaled-back goals complet­ed in the coming years. Starting with a $582,000 outdoor space, the Roundhouse is now able to host events and exhibitions for the first time. Designed by Chicago-based Site Design Group, the outdoor area is the first step in connecting the Roundhouse to the mu­seum’s main building with a pedestrian-friendly landscape. At the same time, the interior of the building has been cleaned, and has already hosted its first major art event. Though the original plan to convert the interior into white-wall galleries has been put on hold, crowds happily flocked to catch a glimpse of one of Burnham’s most utilitarian projects. Much to the joy of architects and pres­ervationists alike, the soaring heavy timber dome has survived in excellent condition. The web of large pine timbers is support­ed by the limestone walls and cast-iron columns, which all look as though they were recently constructed. At 150 feet across, the space is a welcome addition to Chicago’s catalogue of impressive civ­ic interiors. The Roundhouse was the site of this year’s edition of EXPO CHICAGO, which hosted large-scale installations curated by Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. Coinciding with the opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the exhibition, Singing Stones, commissioned Chicago- and Paris-based artists to create massive works. The height of the space allowed for tall hanging piec­es, while the round walls intensified an­other work, which utilized ambient sound. Yet another installation addressed the few windows, a clerestory near the dome’s pin­nacle, with colored films, filling the room with rainbow light during the day. While the Roundhouse may never reach the level of museum refinement and environmental control previously planned, it will continue to be updated and made ready for more exhibitions and events. It is currently scheduled to be complete by the time the Barack Obama Presidential Cen­ter opens on the other end of the University of Chicago’s campus in 2021. The DuSable has already begun conversations with the center to ensure exhibitions in both insti­tutions are complementary. Until that time, architects can only hope the museum will occasionally open as it has for EXPO, let­ting the world in to see just how architec­tural a horse stable can be.
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Hiroshi Sugimoto reveals renderings for renovated Hirshhorn Museum lobby

Artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has been selected to redesign the lobby of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the first time the space has been touched in the museum’s 42-year history. The Tokyo-born artist, along with his Tokyo-based architectural firm, New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), will be responsible for not only designing sculptures and furniture for the lobby of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed museum, but the new café in the lobby’s east end as well. Seeking to reference the round form of the Hishhorn building, Sugimoto drew inspiration for the furnishings from the roots of a 700-year old Japanese nutmeg tree. The imagery of twisted, chaotic roots will be reflected in the lobby’s central group table, and the spiraling chairs surrounding it. "I became fascinated by the roots of an enormous tree, which fanned out to form a large circle, and I decided that this was the circle I would install in the Hirshhorn lobby - a symbol of life," said Sugimoto. "All art takes its inspiration from the power inherent in nature, and my hope is that as visitors enter the museum, they will experience the balance of the man-made and natural circles." Sugimoto will be leaving Bunshaft’s original terrazzo floors, deeply coffered ceiling and exposed aggregate walls, but the artist removed the dark film that covers the lobby’s 3,300-square feet of windows, and opened the space up to views of the National Mall. The rotunda will also see new signage and welcome desks, in addition to the installation of Your oceanic feeling (2015), a swirling light sculpture by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The lobby’s renovation will coincide with the opening of Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato at Hirshhorn, and Sugimoto has designed a 20-foot long, serpentine coffee bar plated in diamond-shape brass and tin plates. The Hirshhorn and Sugimoto have a long history together, as in 2006 the museum was the first institution to present a career survey of Sugimoto’s work. The new lobby, and Dolcezza, will formally open to the public in February 2018.
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New ICA Miami opens a welcoming public space in the Design District

Since its founding, Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) has had a series of temporary homes, starting with a 1996 Charles Gwathmey-designed exhibition space and then a repurposed Art Deco office building in the city’s design district. But this week, the ICA, led by a new team helmed by Director Ellen Salpeter with help from some of Miami’s most important philanthropists and art collectors, finally has a permanent home. The museum, which is free to the public, sits on a site in the city’s Design District donated by Miami developer Craig Robins.The commercial district is chock-a-block with private art museums, including the Rubell, Margulies, and De la Cruz collections, and the ICA is not far from Herzog and de Meuron's 2013 Perez Art Museum. The new 37,000-square-foot ICA is designed by the Madrid-based firm, Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, who are barely known in this country, but have a significant body of public and institutional work in Spain and curated the Spanish pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002 . This week, AN interviewed the Spanish architects about their practice and the new Miami museum. A significant number of their projects have thus far been renovations of ancient existing stone buildings in Spain. Their design insertions for the Museum of Fine Arts and Gardens in Caceres and the Colmenar Viejo exhibition space display an ability to create powerful and idiosyncratic details of metal, wood and stone that mark their work as highly personal–almost expressionistic–in approach, juxtaposing the old and the new with a sensitive conviction. They brought their ability to create handsome details to the ICA’s two facades, but this is not what makes this project stand out in an a shopping district of bravura luxury brand commercial facades. Rather, it is the ICA’s openness to the street and the community that makes it such an exemplary building. The architects had hoped to design the lobby of the building to be entirely open, without front and back glazing, so that the public could walk through and under the building and into the back garden all in the open air. The sides of this lobby would be glazed and provide the sealed entries into the exhibition spaces. But perhaps because they imagined Miami’s reputation for pleasant weather from their Madrid desks, they know little about the hurricane needs of any construction here and the humidity of south Florida. Instead, the entry lobby is glazed, front and back, but still flows, as the architects imagined, from the public sidewalk through the building to the back garden that was designed in collaboration with New York architect Jonathan Caplan. The adjacent ground floor gallery also flows naturally through enormous glass walls, between inside and out, making the back garden space a continuation of the interior and a great new space in Miami, a city not known for popular public spaces, with the exception of the beach. Finally, Fernando Wong Outdoor Living Design, the landscape architects of the 15,000-square-foot Petra and Stephen Levin Sculpture Garden, worked with the architects to create a discreet series of outdoor rooms, each with its own (temporary) sculpture and defined by discrete native plantings. The landscape architects intended for the space, when seen from the museum's second and third floors, to serve as a living canopy visually linking the museum to the unlimited sea of Miami trees. The ICA is a triumph, inside and out, for the museum, its trustees, the designers, and, most importantly, the public.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Civic – Cultural

2017 Best of Design Award for Civic - Cultural: Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art Architect: SO-IL with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Location: Davis, California Defining the museum as a landscape of cultivation, the design of the recently established Manetti Shrem Museum at the University of California, Davis, captures the Central Valley’s spirit of optimism, imagination, and invention. “Cultivation” has a divergent etymology, on one hand rural, on the other, urban-bourgeois. The overarching “Grand Canopy” seeks to embrace both contexts, extending a rolling form patchworked with aluminum beams over both site and building. An environmental silhouette, the design provides identity and awareness to multiple constituencies. "The project makes me optimistic for architecture in the U.S. —intelligent and rigorous architecture that is also delightful and humanist at the same time.  I love how the building connects an intimate experience to the scale of the landscape around it." —Eric Bunge, principal, nARCHITECTS (juror) Contractor: Whiting-Turner Structural Engineer: Rutherford & Chekene Mechanical Engineer: WSP Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone Canopy Engineer: Front   Honorable Mention Name: Chrysalis Designer: MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Place: Columbia, Maryland Chrysalis is an amphitheater, but it is first a pavilion in a park, a tree house, and a placemaking public artwork, ready to be activated at any moment. Here, temporary occupations are staged under a series of cascading arches that vary in size and function: a structural system that gives form to play.
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ICA Miami opens its new home to the public

Representing the first U.S.-based project for Spanish studio Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, the new home of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) will be opening its doors to the public on Friday, December 1st. The ribbon cutting marks the start of Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, and the 37,000-square foot ICA Miami will be hosting a special exhibition of rising and well-established contemporary artists across all three stories of gallery space and outdoor sculpture garden. Representing a threefold increase in size over the old ICA Miami, the new museum is located in Miami’s Design District and includes new spaces for educational and community programming. Each of the building’s three floors are double-height, with the six ground-floor galleries holding long-term and permanent collections, while the second and third stories will host rotating special exhibitions for a total of 20,000-square feet of indoor presentation space. Visitors to the ICA Miami are greeted by a three-story metal façade made up of interlocking, patterned metal triangles and lighted panels, with cut-outs that specifically frame views from the museum’s interior. The back of the building features an all-glass curtain wall that allows guests on every floor to peer out over the 15,000-square foot, landscaped sculpture garden, and brings natural light into the gallery spaces. Besides hosting site-specific commissions and work by both post-war and contemporary sculptors, the garden also features educational space for public programming. A breezeway by the museum’s entrance gives visitors the option of walking directly from the street entrance to the back garden. The museum’s inaugural exhibition, The Everywhere Studio, seeks to examine the role of the artist’s studio and is a veritable who’s-who of post-war and contemporary artists, featuring works by Anna Oppermann, Carolee Schneemann, Roy Lichtenstein, Picasso, and more. Admission is free for the public.
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Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi opens to the public after a decade

After more than four years of construction, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open to the public on November 11. Images of the ambitious project, spanned by a 262-foot latticed, double-skinned dome, have been released for the first time ahead of the full opening. Joining Frank Gehry’s troubled Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and museum projects by Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and other big name studios, Nouvel’s Louvre is the first completed building on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The French architect expressed hope that the museum, sited on the wetland island’s coast, would pay respect to the surrounding environment as well as the cultural history of both France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The Louvre Abu Dhabi becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art,” said Nouvel. Referencing Arab architectural traditions, the project’s radiating dome is composed of nearly 8,000 interlocking metal octagons layered over each other to form a perforated shading system. Shading visitors during the day and shining from below at night, Nouvel called the roof “an oasis of light.” Protected from the elements, the public spaces below will host a rotating selection of pieces specifically commissioned for the museum. Layering patterned partitions is nothing new for Nouvel, whose Burj Doha in Qatar similarly took advantage of the mashrabiya, an Islamic screen designed to keep occupants cool during the summer months. The galleries themselves are a collection of squat, white cubic volumes with ceiling heights that vary from room to room and an irregularly-spaced paneling design that permeates inside to the display areas. This “museum city” totals 23 gallery spaces across 6,400 square meters (21,000 square feet), as well as a children’s museum, auditorium, restaurant and merchandise shops. The floor tiling calls back to Ottoman-era mosaic design, including a “stone carpet” in one of the gallery spaces. The museum's first exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, will open on December 21st and display 18th century artwork from the opening of the original Musée du Louvre in Paris alongside modern pieces.
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Tadao Ando chosen to build a new art museum inside former Paris stock exchange

Japanese architect Tadao Ando has been tapped to design a new museum inside one of Paris’s historical buildings, the former stock exchange Bourse de Commerce. On Monday, French billionaire and art collector François Pinault unveiled his plans to create a contemporary museum for his private art collection within the glass-domed building, which is steps away from the Louvre and the Palais Royal. Pinault, who has worked with Ando before on the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice, chose him to lead the Paris project's design and preservation efforts, along with French firm NeM Architects, French National Heritage architect Pierre-Antoine Gatier, and engineering firm Setec. “Considering the scope of this challenge, it seemed obvious that I should entrust Tadao Ando with this mission, as Ando is one of the few architects working today who is able to create a dialogue between architecture and its context, its past and present, masterfully combining originality and discretion,” said François Pinault in a press release. Ando’s addition will be a cylinder in the iconic rotunda that will create three levels of gallery spaces that are open to the dome and encase an auditorium below ground. Corridors will also be constructed between the outside of the cylinder and the "interior facade" to create a new space for circulation. (The Bourse de Commerce incorporates several structures built over the centuries on that site; French architect Henri Blondel (1821-1897) designed an 1889 addition that serves as the current facade.) Besides a redesign of the internal space, the plans for the Bourse also include restoring its exterior and landmarked interiors—the internal facade, skylights, and frescoes. Restoration to the 19th century, neoclassical building is estimated to cost $121 million. The announcement also revives a long battle between the two well-known art collectors in France: Pinault and Bernald Arnault. They have both sought homes for their private art collections, with Arnault’s currently in the Frank Gehry–designed Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. The ambitious project takes on additional political significance in “tumultuous times,” where recurring terrorist incidents and Brexit cast doubt on what the future holds, as Ando described in a press release. “This is a project that calls on the people to recall France’s proud identity as a country of culture and art and to renew their hopes for the future.” The museum is expected to open in 2019.
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Ground breaks on Steven Holl’s design for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Steven Holl's design for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has started construction. In 2015, Holl described the commission as "the most important" of his career.

Steven Holl Architects was awarded the job back in 2012, seeing off competition from Morphosis and Snøhetta, but working out the design has been a drawn-out experience. “What you see here is the culmination of a 36-month design process,” Holl said at a design unveiling two years ago. In addition to the 165,000-square-foot Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, and the Glassell School of Art, the architect also worked on the museum's master plan.

The 14-acre campus will also include the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation, designed by Lake|Flato Architects of San Antonio. The two-storey facility will sit above MFAH's existing parking garage and provide conservation labs and studios, and a street-level cafe. Holl's translucent Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, meanwhile, will see two floors of galleries circling a top-lit three-level atrium added along with a restaurant, theater, reflecting pools, vertical gardens, meeting rooms, and underground parking.

The building will have etched glass tubular cladding that will allow daylight to filter through and also give the building a soft glow come sunset. At ground level, six reflecting pools of water will amplify the luminous qualities of the structure's skin, which will also include seven vertical gardens. These will be cut into segments of vision glass instead of the translucent tubing. Inside, the two galleries will total 54,000 square feet. The upper level is to be shielded by a luminous canopy roof, which has concave curves inspired by Texas' billowing clouds. All of the gallery spaces feature natural light. Holl is working with New York–based lighting design firm L’Observatoire International on the project.

Furthermore, Holl's new Glassell School of Art will connect with the water pools and connect the campus to The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza. All in all, MFAH's additions will come to $450 million. Construction is touted for completion in 2019.
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Updated: Peter Zumthor unveils new images and concepts for LACMA replacement

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan have unveiled a slew of new images and design concepts for a scheme aiming to replace Los Angeles's largest art museum with a new 368,000-square foot complex. The plans were revealed last night during a joint talk delivered by Zumthor and Govan to a packed audience at the Brown Auditorium on the LACMA campus, where Govan explained that the project sought to re-signify the museum experience and undermine the traditional museum typology by creating a structure with “no back, no front.” The efforts, according to Govan and Zumthor, are aimed at granting prominence to art objects more equally, instead of relegating certain collections to the museum’s nether regions, as is currently the case. The plans build on a previously-released—and much-derided scheme—that aims to create a large, continuous gallery elevated high above the museum’s site in a structure that would span across Wilshire Boulevard to the south. The sinuous, oil-slick inspired structure—an homage to the La Brea Tar Pits next door—is lifted above the ground on a series of seven pavilion towers that house public galleries, conservation spaces, circulation, ground level cafes and restaurants, and an amphitheater. The pavilions stretch up into the levitated mass to create a complex set of interlocking gallery spaces. According to Zumthor, the project contains four types of galleries along this level: so-called meander galleries along the periphery, with smaller “pocket galleries” located throughout and grouped “cluster galleries” and “tower galleries” contained within the pavilions. The “tower galleries” in the scheme will be located within tall, triple-height light cannons meant to funnel sunlight into the galleries. The design is capped by a massive, continuously overhanging roof that would shield the museum’s collection from southern sun; black, retractable drapes are to be installed along eastern and western exposures to control for low-angle solar glare. Zumthor expressed a strong desire to create a museum from “real materials, not sheetrock,” and has proposed board-formed concrete surfaces for the gallery interiors. The building’s exterior—in fact, the entire building, generally speaking—will be made of concrete, as well. This material, depicted in the new images in mud-colored tones, is meant to evoke the Texas Limestone cladding of the nearby Renzo Piano–designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum and A.C. Martin–designed May Company building. In describing the project, Zumthor explained that his scheme originated with the traditional, non-purpose-built art museum: spaces originally constructed as homes for elite art patrons that brought in light via peripheral windows. This “side light,” according to Zumthor, creates dynamic conditions that allow patrons to “make personal discoveries” within artworks and drove the concept’s organization of small, oddly-shaped galleries with various connections to the outdoors. A preliminary timeline for the project aims to finish the project by 2023, in time for the opening of a new subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard. For more info, see the LACMA website.
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The Arata Isozaki–renovated Bass Museum of Art scheduled to open fall 2017

After almost two years of construction, The Bass, Miami’s museum of contemporary art, is scheduled to open this fall. The project was initially scheduled to be completed December 2016 to coincide with Art Basel, but was forced to extend the construction timeline to accommodate the extra care needed to revive a historic structure.

The original building was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by Miami architect Russell Pancoast. It was first built as the Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center—considered South Florida’s first public space dedicated to art—and was renamed The Bass Museum of Art in 1964. Soon after, it was added to the National Register as “an exemplar of Art Deco architecture [sic].”

In 2001, the building underwent its first expansion at the hands of Arata Isozaki & Associates, a Tokyo-based architecture firm known for its work on projects such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona. The renovation added a wing to the building and a second level to house 16,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The museum board soon realized that it would need more room, and began plans for a second renovation, which broke ground in 2015. The team for this renovation includes Arata Isozaki & Associates and David Gauld, a consulting architect in New York, in addition to Jonathan Caplan of Project-Space, who redesigned the interior aesthetic of the museum.

The new additions build on the existing footprint of the structure, creating three additional galleries for a total of six. A creativity center will be housed in a new education wing, quadrupling the museum’s previous education space. The interior renovations are the most considerable in the building’s history, involving the reconfiguration of two courtyards to accommodate a new museum store and cafe. Though the changes alter some of the existing footprint, they will also allow visitors to once again use the original entrance of the building from Collins Park.

“[The] historic building is of real significance to our community, and one of the few structures of its kind on Miami Beach,” said Debbie Tackett, preservation and design manager for the Miami Beach Planning Department, in a statement. “The fact that the museum is striving to expand its exhibition and educational spaces while maintaining the integrity of the existing architecture makes this an example of resilient preservation.”

The Bass museum is scheduled to reopen fall 2017.

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Portugal’s MAAT could become the world’s most exciting venue for art and architecture

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is a new exhibition space created for EDP, a Portuguese foundation in Lisbon. The building opened in October of 2016 and just created its first curated exhibition. I had an opportunity to visit its exhibit Utopia/Dystopia: A Paradigm Shift in Art and Architecture and it provided an opportunity to see how the new structure functions and is being programmed. Designed by British architect Amanda Levete's firm AL_A, The MAAT operates as a ‘Kunsthalle,’ with no permanent collection of artifacts, but as a space to promote and stage cross-cultural or interdisciplinary experimentation. The building has several functional exhibition galleries, but its focus is an enormous, 13,000-square-foot, centralized elliptical space, ringed with steep inclined viewing ramps made for theatrical performances and temporary installations. The ramps are meant as viewing platforms but the steepness of the slope propels viewers down and then up and around the central ellipse. This constant movement by viewers can allow them—if curated properly—to be part of the action or to become the event itself. It's an interactive public space for an age more familiar with digital and VR images on a screen than in a physical gallery. The low, long profile of The MAAT's exterior appears like a slightly opened oyster shell set in the mud along the facing Tagus river and estuary. If one imagines the shell opened ever so slightly, this is where Levete has placed the entrance into the building. Up a curving set of long, narrow steps, with a hovering deep overhang meant to capture the dappled reflection of the river, the public is pulled in a short entrance into the lobby and then into the grand open performance ellipse. Its facade is covered in 15,000 “crackle glazed three-dimensional” tiles that give it a fish scale like dimension on the cityscape and honors the city’s many tiled facades. When these ceramic rectangles catch beams of natural dappled or artificial light the building magically glows like a light bulb. But it is not simply the facade of the building that comes alive through refraction. This is a building meant to perform on every surface. It is, in some ways, as much landscape as it is an enclosure and thus a structure meant to perform. The term ‘performative architecture’ stands for several older and newer ideas in architecture and the design of urban public space. If by the term one means buildings created to encourage active public engagement and themselves actively participate like Roman baroque urban experiments or even worlds fairs, then Levete’s building is an unqualified success. It becomes a pedestrian promenade and visitors areg meant to walk along, onto, or over its tiled sloping roofscape like Foreign Office Architect’s 2003 Yokohama terminal. Last week's opening programmed performances to take place on every surface of the structure. It started with a musician ‘playing’ the ceramic tile facade with a vibraphonist's soft mallets and group of musicians dancing and singing on the top step of the covered front entry platform. The central oval space featured an opening night performance by Mexican artist Hector Zamora that featured crews of migrant laborers destroying a fleet of old unusable (but beautiful) fishing boats as a protest against the disappearance of a way of life represented by the small craft. The highlight of the first-day performance featured O Terceiro Paraiso, choreographed by Italian Michelangelo Pistoletto on the sloping roofscape public space. The Italian arte povera and ‘action’ artist theorized a potential new utopia—in accordance with the exhibition opening in the galleries downstairs—that asked several hundred participants to hold hands in three labyrinths made of a single line that would create a new third utopia from the two earlier ones that he theorized as an everyday 'Gesamtkunstwerk.' The performance was pushed along by the large sloping facade of the roof that stands as an open space above the riverside promenade and facing back to the city in the distance. It should be pointed out that the Levete renderings show the roofscape with a whiplash-like tail flying over the adjacent freeway to the roof of The MAAT. This freeway acts as a wall that cuts off Lisbon from its waterfront as if it were lifted out from any number of American cities. When (and if) this tail ramp is finished it will bring the city across the freeway and onto the roofscape and be the performative space the museums want to be for their home city. Levette has delivered a potentially valuable new focus and hub for the Portuguese capital but it remains for the MAAT director Pedro Gandhao and his curatorial staff to realize the spatial and performative qualities of the museum. They have the opportunity to make this one the most exciting venues in the world that programs architecture and technology alongside art.
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The Contemporary Austin gets a striking new rooftop addition

In December of last year, New York–based Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis Architects (LTL) completed its renovation of The Contemporary Austin-Jones Center which, among other improvements, includes the freshly inaugurated Moody Rooftop pavilion. The $3 million dollar renovation responds to the enormous growth of the institution and its popular public programming as well as the increasing scale of Austin’s architecture. This project is one in a series of designs that the organization has commissioned in recent years including the ongoing master planning of its sculpture park at Laguna Gloria by Cambridge, Massachusetts–based landscape architecture firm Reed-Hilderbrand. Since the museum opened its downtown location in 2010, the roof deck has been a central feature of its public engagement strategy and often hosts outdoor film screenings and music performances. This upgrade allows The Contemporary to hold larger events with more control over the open air roof space. LTL designed a deceptively thin roof canopy that hovers 23 feet above the original structure with stark white curtains that can be drawn to enclose the space for year-round use. The museum also moved its administrative office to Laguna Gloria, thereby allowing for Jones Center to double its ground floor area for exhibitions and upgrade its mechanical systems to accommodate a more diverse range of art installations. The building is situated along Congress Avenue, Austin's central thoroughfare, with a direct view to the State Capitol, making the museum one of the city’s most visible cultural institutions. Coincidental with the re-opening of the museum was the installation of a text artwork by artist Jim Hodges that wraps the edge of the roof. The piece consists of 27 seven-foot-tall block letters reading “With Liberty and Justice for All” lit from behind and encased with iridescent mirrored surfaces. The eponymously titled piece is in the public gaze at all times and will reportedly remain in place for three years, though the architect re-designed the roof to potentially mount the letters permanently. Earlier this year, directly following the presidential inauguration, both the building and the art were the backdrop for the Women’s March in Austin, underscoring the social responsibility that cultural institutions have to shape a city’s identity. With cooperation between distinctive architectural design and timely public artwork, the museum aims to vault itself from a sometimes scrappy nonprofit to a growing powerhouse among national art institutions.