Museum of Fine Arts Houston Campus Expansion

The Glassell School of Art and the Nancy and Rich Kinder Exhibition Building, both by Steven Holl Architects, and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation by Lake | Flato Architects, are part of the dramatic plan to redevelop and reframe the Museum of Fine Arts and Conservation Center as the cultural heart of Houston. The new 14-acre master plan suggests an horizontal extension of the landscape that will unify the campus and transform it into one of the largest art venues in the US.


The Kinder exhibition building will be dedicated to 20th and 21st century art. The building is defined by porosity, with seven gardens slicing the perimeter at all of its translucent elevations. The new Glassell School of Art brackets the Brown Foundation Plaza and extends the campus landscape onto the roof, culminating in a walkable roof garden. The conservation center addition transforms the existing parking garage building into a pivotal portal to the campus, housing conservation studios which will unite the various art and science departments.


Horizontal activity, transparency and porosity will unify and integrate the new MFAH as an integrated campus experience. The lush Houston vegetation, refreshing sound, and reflections in water are all part of a new campus experience elevating the surprise and poetry of art.


L’Observatoire will be responsible for lighting the gardens, reflecting pools, and facades of the Glassell School and Exhibition Building, in addition to all interior public spaces of the three buildings including lobbies, galleries, restaurants, cafes, classrooms, circulation and conservation rooms.   

Location Houston, Texas, USA
Architect Steven Holl Architects
Client Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Type Museums + Cultural Institutions
size164,000 ft2 / 15,000 m2
Status In Progress

L'Observatoire Intl Team
Principal Hervé Descottes
Project Team Wen Lin Glenn Fujimura
Press The Architect's Newspaper, Feb 2015
Photo Credits Steven Holl Architects