Jump to content
nmainguy

Museum of Fine Arts Houston Expansion

Recommended Posts

I agree in general but it's over-fetishized. Dallas for instance seems to have made a point of starchitect-bombing their arts district, but the average person walking through that area would not feel that it's anything too special. They would probably think there were some neat buildings, but the overall product does not hang together very well or feel much like a neighborhood.

 

I think one or two great starchitect buildings surrounded by the work of local architects who know the neighborhood and its history and can work to make contributory designs will bring better results than having big shots all designing show-stoppers based on little knowledge or interest in the city.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^True.  Although some "starchitects" can design within the context of the neighborhood better than the locals.

 

Just look at the Menil.  Groundbreaking.  I know Louis Kahn was originially taped to design it, but he passed away prior to finalizing things.  I think Renzo did a splendid job, and I can't imagine ANY local architect doing something remotely as masterful and helping to not only define that neighborhood, but to set about defining inner city Houston the way Piano did.

 

Moneo is a great example of big name - out of place.  I love the art work in the Beck Building, but I don't think the building is the greatest thing ever.  Certainly better than the usual trash that gets thrown up in this town, but it could have been better.

 

Of course... if someone gave Local Architect Larry $350,000,000 budget to design a couple hundred thousand square foot gallery space I'll wager the design he/she could have created would have been fairly interesting?

 

As for Dallas - haven't walked around the district itself - but I do know they basically created it out of nothing.  The Museum District here has existed since what the 1970s?  At least since then.  It does take a while for neighborhoods to grow and mature.  The Museum District is certainly growing up nicely, now if more density can be added along with responsible retail - we'll really have a destination.

Edited by arche_757
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well 'starchitects' didn't get that title for no reason. They got if from years of producing great work internationally. They do research, they understand the neighborhoods. There isn't a local firm that would've produced a better design than Steven Holl did for the MFAH expansion.

And the Menil is considered one of the great museums...architects and fans of architecture come from all over the world to visit it. Done by an Italian guy that lives 5000 miles away. He managed to understand the neighborhood fairly well.

As for local architects, yes there are a lot of talented ones in Houston that don't always get these marquis projects but when you have $450 million to spend you go for the 'name brand'. That's the business

Edited by Lospringer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The title 'starchitects' was I believe coined by Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune to somewhat derisively describe architects whose hype surpassed the quality of their designs, even while having respectable designs. He identified the original starchitect as being Philip Johnson, who was made a star by Pennzoil Place, which Kamin thought looked like a pair of milk cartons.

 

I'm not saying starchitects' reputation isn't somewhat deserved, but there is an Emperor's New Clothes phenomenon that goes on as well, and I don't think clustering starchitect buildings as in the Dallas Arts District produces great results. I much prefer the architectural environment around The Crescent (just so you don't think I hate Dallas), where one masterpiece is allowed to dominate and other buildings make strong synergistic contributions.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The title 'starchitects' was I believe coined by Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune to somewhat derisively describe architects whose hype surpassed the quality of their designs, even while having respectable designs. He identified the original starchitect as being Philip Johnson, who was made a star by Pennzoil Place, which Kamin thought looked like a pair of milk cartons.

 

I'm not saying starchitects' reputation isn't somewhat deserved, but there is an Emperor's New Clothes phenomenon that goes on as well, and I don't think clustering starchitect buildings as in the Dallas Arts District produces great results. I much prefer the architectural environment around The Crescent (just so you don't think I hate Dallas), where one masterpiece is allowed to dominate and other buildings make strong synergistic contributions.

 

I agree with all your points, but if there is any place in a city where buildings should be eclectic and clustered around each other it's in an art district or some sort of cultural district. It's fitting when the art collections in buildings which are also collections in of themselves. You see eclecticism of this manner in our nations capital. The Mall is lined with vastly different buildings with different styles, sensibilities, and the architects personalities to match. While it's true that when defining a district you want there to be some kind of homogeneity, but many times Art Districts break that mold due to the very nature of their function. What needs to match then are the buildings and features around those collections of buildings. Those are the ones that should match the randomness of the architecture not the conformity of the masses around it.

Edited by Luminare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all your points, but if there is any place in a city where buildings should be eclectic and clustered around each other it's in an art district or some sort of cultural district. It's fitting when the art collections in buildings which are also collections in of themselves. You see eclecticism of this manner in our nations capital. The Mall is lined with vastly different buildings with different styles, sensibilities, and the architects personalities to match. While it's true that when defining a district you want there to be some kind of homogeneity, but many times Art Districts break that mold due to the very nature of their function. What needs to match then are the buildings and features around those collections of buildings. Those are the ones that should match the randomness of the architecture not the conformity of the masses around it.

 

Very good counterpoint. But I would question whether Arts Districts which are collections of trophy properties are really the best idea if you are trying to create neighborhoods. Lincoln Center is probably the original instance of this approach taken by a city to its cultural institutions, and the overall result is uninspiring, although individual buildings are great. If you read much about how it was done, the architects' egos banged against each other and they all pretty much hated each other by the end. Jane Jacobs also talked about the downside of having all these institutional facilities clustered, which is that it renders the neighborhood completely dead when there aren't multiple events going on.

 

The traditional approach of having arts institutions each forming their own neighborhood in separate parts of the city (like the Menil) might be in the long run a better way to go. I'm not completely decided on this, as I do sort of like the atmosphere of our theater district. But our theater district contains no starchitecture besides the office buildings near it, and yet it makes a better neighborhood than Dallas's Arts District.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also just mention that the Washington Mall tends to have its best moments when the architecture is willing to conform to an overall plan or prevailing sense of style, as with the museums on the north side and the classical buildings at either end, versus some of the newer museums on the south side that each seems to be going off in its own direction, and would probably function better in a different setting than a grand traditional rectangular mall.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that uniformity or a prevailing style creates a neighborhood. I don't see anything wrong with grouping simalarly programmed buildings adjacent to each other or within the same district. That's how most cities do it. The theater district in Houston works fine But I wouldn't exactly call that architecture inspiring and I'm not saying it has to be done by some well known architect either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that uniformity or a prevailing style creates a neighborhood. I don't see anything wrong with grouping simalarly programmed buildings adjacent to each other or within the same district. That's how most cities do it. The theater district in Houston works fine But I wouldn't exactly call that architecture inspiring and I'm not saying it has to be done by some well known architect either.

Jones Hall, Houston Center for Ballet, Hobby Center, Wortham Theater aren't nice looking buildings? Obviously not starchitects, but I feel they mesh together better than a cluster of buildings all trying too hard to outdo each other.

I agree though, I don't see anything wrong with clustering similar things into districts, especially with a city as vast/hard to get around as Houston. But its hard to deny the sheer awesomeness of the Menil and what they've done for/with their surroundings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This view from the article isn't one that I have seen.  You can see what the article states as being "seven vertical gardens" in the project.  Liking it more and more.

post-11710-0-94031600-1422301547_thumb.j

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This view from the article isn't one that I have seen. You can see what the article states as being "seven vertical gardens" in the project. Liking it more and more.

Don't expect it to look exactly like the rendering. Look at what happened to hotel Alessandra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pretty sure theyve already raised the majority of the funds for this...? this is one of the biggest art museums in the country. they arent going to half ass this.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't expect it to look exactly like the rendering. Look at what happened to hotel Alessandra

 

Do you really have to bring that bullcrap into this thread. Seriously? You literally just threw garbage into an otherwise good thread. Congrats dude.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This project is controlled by local people tied to the museum. No out-of-town investors. Of course there could always be situations that force a scaling back of the design, but that wouldn't happen without a fight from the people involved. You don't hold an architecture competition staged over years if you are not serious about good architecture.

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to compare a purely for profit project like hotel alessandra to the MFAH project is asinine.... there are no ROI's or preferred returns to combat against.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to compare a purely for profit project like hotel alessandra to the MFAH project is asinine.... there are no ROI's or preferred returns to combat against.

Very well said!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the only changes we are going to see in the design will be related to MAJOR constructability issues.  Lets say the slope on the green roof exceeds ADA requirements or they cant find a warrantable product for that slope.  Those are the changes we will see as more renderings come out.  With a client like this you do EVERYTHING you can to preserve the design intent AND budget without neutering the architects key elements.

 

People on here sometime think that any change to a concept rendering is evil, but it is honestly part of the design process.  As the design architects hand over their baby to project architects there are often changes made before the builder is even involved.

 

/end contractor rant 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the only changes we are going to see in the design will be related to MAJOR constructability issues.  Lets say the slope on the green roof exceeds ADA requirements or they cant find a warrantable product for that slope.  Those are the changes we will see as more renderings come out.  With a client like this you do EVERYTHING you can to preserve the design intent AND budget without neutering the architects key elements.

 

People on here sometime think that any change to a concept rendering is evil, but it is honestly part of the design process.  As the design architects hand over their baby to project architects there are often changes made before the builder is even involved.

 

/end contractor rant 

 

tl;dr version:  

 

Because this:

 

gezichtsbedrog_image.gif

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the only changes we are going to see in the design will be related to MAJOR constructability issues.  Lets say the slope on the green roof exceeds ADA requirements or they cant find a warrantable product for that slope.  Those are the changes we will see as more renderings come out.  With a client like this you do EVERYTHING you can to preserve the design intent AND budget without neutering the architects key elements.

 

People on here sometime think that any change to a concept rendering is evil, but it is honestly part of the design process.  As the design architects hand over their baby to project architects there are often changes made before the builder is even involved.

 

/end contractor rant 

 

As far as the slope of that green roof as long as there is accessibility to the rooftop terrace via an elevator then the only thing that will matter is the minimal slope needed for a normal person to scale the roof from bottom to top. The only time ADA ramp dimensions come to play is when you are making floor changes that an elevator would be something you wouldn't want to use. I guarantee that this wouldn't have even been in the project if this was an issue. I mean it's a prominent feature of the building so I'm sure they were looking intently at codes for that.

Edited by Luminare
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I mean it's a prominent feature of the building so I'm sure they were looking intently at codes for that.

you would be amazed how often design architects ignore the laws of nature / science when pursuing projects.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you would be amazed how often design architects ignore the laws of nature / science when pursuing projects.....

 

Initially yes, but as the design matures then these "laws" you speak of come into play.  I'd be much more surprised if Holl doesn't have a senior architect (or several) on board this project that isn't making sure the technical side of things will actually work and can actually be built!  It is not like he hasn't done this before all over the world.

 

But guess what... Holl, and others like him ARE who they are because of their crazy ideas and floating spaces.  Practical architects toil away for years and years with narry a magazine article devoted to them, and most move on with seldom a concern about preserving any of their designs.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initially yes, but as the design matures then these "laws" you speak of come into play.  I'd be much more surprised if Holl doesn't have a senior architect (or several) on board this project that isn't making sure the technical side of things will actually work and can actually be built!  It is not like he hasn't done this before all over the world.

 

But guess what... Holl, and others like him ARE who they are because of their crazy ideas and floating spaces.  Practical architects toil away for years and years with narry a magazine article devoted to them, and most move on with seldom a concern about preserving any of their designs.

 

 

Exactly. They don't call them starchitects for nothing. They know how to build exactly what they create. Bar any weird programming hiccups like a forgot restroom or fire stair they usually get exactly what they want which is why you go after the big guys when you want this kind of project done. As far as I've seen from these renderings so far it looks very buildable you just have to surround yourself with a team that wants to put the full vision forward.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They have a General Contractor, too.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2015/02/05/general-contractor-selected-for-museum-of-fine.html

 

"...The Houston division of St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies Inc. said Feb. 5 that it has been awarded the project...

 

...Construction is expected to begin in July and is scheduled for completion in 2019. About 73 percent — or $330 million — of the fundraising goal has been raised..."

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like there will be a public meeting about the new expansion tonight to address possible neighbor concerns and questions.

 

They are also going to show what the final product will look like.

 

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/the-mfah-expansion-what-arearesidents-should-know-beforehand/

 

Here's the new rendering.  They consulted with Midway and decided this would blend in better with the area:

 

article-1369460-0D4FDFA4000005DC-982_634

 

Edited by Gator Purify

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the new rendering.  They consulted with Midway and decided this would blend in better with the area:

 

article-1369460-0D4FDFA4000005DC-982_634

 

 

wow you even failed in your joke...thats actually a very nice looking building. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rTnKpbo6c.jpg


the dutch country amish, would love that beautiful new museum rendering.....


  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow you even failed in your joke...thats actually a very nice looking building. 

 

Ah, yes.  I knew I could count on Luminare to be negative and condescending.  I see a lot of jokes on HAIF that I would consider corny, but I don't waste my time ridiculing people for them because I'm not that narcissistic.  Lighten up.  It's not that deep.

 

P.S. - As has already been pointed out, it is a nice looking building, just not for a major art museum.  That's why I picked it.  Now you can continue crapping on everyone's posts.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

rTnKpbo6c.jpg

the dutch country amish, would love that beautiful new museum rendering.....

 

 

"'Tis a fine barn, but sure 'tis no Museum, English"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Good thing, since we believe in no representational images, and would have to confine ourselves to the decorative arts galleries."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know we all like to pile it on, but back to the subject of the thread. Did anyone happen to go to the meeting at the Museum last

night and hear the time table and see the plans and model for the new campus? I was just curious when they are actually going to take down the Glassel and get things ramped up. Cant wait for this one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Butthurt alert is off the charts!

 

Luminare and I have talked and the matter seems to be under the bridge.  I think he can fight his own battles.  No need for you to chime in. 

 

Now back to architecture.  Anybody attend the meeting?

Edited by Gator Purify
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah we worked things out. No big deal :P I just didn't think the joke was all that funny and commented in a way that was a bit.....dickish? Yeah it was a bit dickish lol. It was all a complete miscommunication.

 

But yeah I was hoping someone went to that meeting :( Cloud? Where is Cloud when you need him!?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But yeah I was hoping someone went to that meeting :( Cloud? Where is Cloud when you need him!?

Heh.. Unfortunately I was not able to make it. I really wanted to but I had other commitments last night. Didn't the Glassell come up on the demolition report a little while back, or am I making things up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah we worked things out. No big deal :P I just didn't think the joke was all that funny and commented in a way that was a bit.....dickish? Yeah it was a bit dickish lol. It was all a complete miscommunication.

 

But yeah I was hoping someone went to that meeting :( Cloud? Where is Cloud when you need him!?

 

Surely the Chronicle covered the meeting, right?  Right?  Never mind...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact that that we still see the roof terrace from ground floor to roof even after going through the planning commission is encouraging.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From today's MFAH email blast:

 

We welcome MFACafé, coming this fall! 

Paolo Fronza and Matteo Alessandri, formerly of Fellini Caffè, team up once again to bring an exciting new dining option to Houston. Their new, sophisticated café will offer Northern Italian-inspired fare when it opens this fall in the Museum's Audrey Jones Beck Building. 

In the meantime, freshly prepared sandwiches and salads are available at our temporary pop-up café now that Cafe Express service has ended. And as always, tasty bites continue to be served up daily by food trucks parked next to our Cullen Sculpture Garden.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, Northern Italian is typically seen as more sophisticated, less about pasta, tomato sauce, and spices and more open to stand-alone meats and fish than its Southern counterpart. It ties in with a longstanding cultural dominance by the north, and in some instances has kind of a racial element, although no such accusation is warranted generally.

 

(But the food that the world loves is Southern Italian, just like Northern Mexican.)

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...