Fort Worth, Texas: The Kimbell Art Museum (Addition)
The original Kimbell Art Museum is a tough act to follow.
It was designed by a world renowned architect and is consistently praised as a victory for modern architecture. The quality of day-light the building provides is legendary and has helped this specific Louis Kahn project find a place in most every architectural history course.
I cannot imagine any project that could sit adjacent to the original Kimbell Art Museum and receive a parallel amount of respect and praise in the architectural community. With that said, I think the Kimbell Art Museum addition by Renzo Piano is a respectful and delicately crafted addition to the campus that is worth a visit.
It is, like its predecessor and neighbor, a sort of faceless building. The building is present, but by no means screams for attention or detracts/competes with the art it houses.
Massive glulam beams rest lightly on concrete columns. If buildings could be in gangs that required a certain material palette for admission, this neighborhood architecture gang would certainly be known for concrete (See A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 14).
This building, like its neighbor, uses a day-lighting strategy I’ve heard described as “Structural Light”, a name I think fits incredibly well.
Between each of the glulam beams, diffused light enters the building and illuminates everything evenly.
The beams are lined with track lighting for nighttime illumination.
This portion of the museum links to a sort-of subterranean chunk via a glass stitch lined with outdoor seating.
The roof of this “Subterranean Chunk” is a habitable, grass covered roof.
I first thought the grass roof was pointless since it seemed it would constantly be uninhabited due to the Texas heat. I was quickly proven wrong when I stepped in dog poop, which by deductive reasoning signified that it is in fact inhabited at times (though my “Sherlock Holmes” type investigation leads me to believe that this roof is used as a dog toilet…).
Under the grass roof is an interesting set of stairs. Crowds of people passed through this space as I waited to take the “perfect picture”, and they each exclaimed, “Oh look! That is interesting.”
But, more interesting than the slanted concrete wall of the stairs everyone stops to take a picture of is the incision through the grass-covered roof, manifested as a private bench area.
Which from the outside looks like…
This may just be my personal opinion (which I think is okay to share since this is MY blog), but I think this building doesn’t pop like the original Kimbell Art Museum. If this were an art museum in any other part of the country, it would be a stunning work of architecture that I would not shut up about forever. You’ve seen the pictures now, it is obviously a beautifully detailed place. But still… Not as good as the original…
That is all from my Texas trip I took months ago… Lets play a bit of catch-up!
Hopefully some more recent things will make a blog appearance… Unless… Is there anything new on Netflix right now?