Blaffer Art Museum

2012
WORKac’s dramatic new addition and renovation of the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas has opened to the public with a twenty-year survey dedicated to influential American sculptor Tony Feher. Until now, the museum's visibility and identity have been hampered by the fact that its entrance was hidden and accessible only through an internal courtyard. WORKac's design provides striking resolution to the issue of visibility, increasing the museum’s presence and connectivity to the surrounding campus and city by opening up the previously blank north side of the building with a new entrance pavilion. Within, its galleries were excessively impacted by circulation, including a stairway in the middle of two galleries and another gallery only accessible by a hallway through administrative offices.

The projecting volume, clad with channel glass in a gradient of semi-transparent and translucent sections reveals a new grand staircase that reroutes all of the problematic circulation routes from the center of the building to the façade, providing street-level views of the museum’s interior activities, while also allowing for the expansion and diversification of the museum’s gallery spaces.

A new entrance zone with a café becomes a commons area that connects the front pavilion with the back courtyard, allowing the public to freely move between city and campus via the museum. The existing rear courtyard will soon receive its own upgrade, to provide a flexible and dynamic setting for a continuous program of music, film screenings and other art-related events. New landscaping throughout the exterior area by SCAPE landscape architects gives the museum an invigorated sense of place and adds to the rhythm and scale of the pedestrian experience.

Photos by Iwan Baan; rendering by SCAPE and WORKac, elevations and diagrams by WORKac

For more information on the Blaffer Art Museum Addition and Renovation, please email pr@work.ac