The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has selected three architecture firms—Morphosis, Snøhetta and Steven Holl Architects—to submit conceptual design proposals for an expanded MFAH. The project entails the construction of a building intended primarily for post-1900 art, a parking garage and the integration of surrounding MFAH buildings and public spaces. The decision follows several years of focused internal discussion to assess the museum’s future needs, and a year-long series of interviews with 10 international architecture firms.
“This decision marks an important step forward for the future MFAH,” said Richard D. Kinder, chair of the museum’s long-range planning committee. “Even before Rafael Moneo’s Audrey Jones Beck Building opened, in 2000, MFAH director Peter Marzio and the board recognized that it would not be the final step in expanding the MFAH. With the collections now numbering some 63,000 objects—more than half of them works of art created after 1900—the need for a building dedicated to these expanding collections is unquestioned.”
Each of the three firms will be asked to develop site-specific concepts for the new building, garage and integration of the surrounding buildings and public spaces. The new museum building will occupy a two-acre, museum-owned site now being used as a parking lot. The property is adjacent to the Isamu Noguchi-designed Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden and to the Glassell School of Art, and is across the street from the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo, and the Caroline Wiess Law Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe. In addition to being a home for post-1900 art from the MFAH permanent collection, the new building is planned to include galleries for traveling exhibitions, educational facilities, a library and study/resource center, lecture halls, a theater and a restaurant.
The concept proposals will be submitted in early 2012 and reviewed by the long-range planning committee. Said Cornelia Long, chair of MFAH's Board of Trustees, “We are excited to see how the selected firms respond to our unique campus of distinguished buildings and gardens.”