Renzo Piano completes extension to
Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum

| 6 comments
 

Architecture studio Renzo Piano Building Workshop has completed the extension to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, doubling the gallery space originally designed by American architect Louis Kahn (+ slideshow).

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed a new building for the Kimbell Art Museum site to house the museum's growing collection and provide educational facilities.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

"The programmes and collection of Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum have grown dramatically in recent years, far beyond anything envisioned by the museum in the 1970s," said the studio.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

The new structure faces the west facade of Kahn's building and is similar in height, plan and orientation to the existing museum.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Its front facade is split into three sections to echo the internal layout. Visitors enter the glazed lobby in the central third of the building, which has large gallery spaces either side.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
Photograph by Onur Teke

The roof extends past the external glass walls, supported by a colonnade of concrete columns.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Daylight coming through the gallery ceilings is controlled by layers of stretched fabric, glass and aluminium louvers between the wooden beams.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Glazed passageways lead from the lobby and south gallery into the second half of the building, buried beneath a grass-covered roof so the extension doesn't dwarf Kahn's building and to insulate the spaces.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Further exhibition space, an auditorium of 299 seats and classrooms are all located in this underground section.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
View of Louis Khan's original Kimbell Art Museum from Renzo Piano's extension

"Views through the new building to the landscape and Kahn building beyond emphasise the key motifs of transparency and openness," said Renzo Piano Building Workshop. "The new facility will be highly energy efficient, requiring only one fourth of the energy consumed by the Kahn building."

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Louis Kahn designed the original vaulted concrete building to house the museum in 1972. Piano worked in Kahn's office during the 1960s and cites the late architect as his mentor.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Photography is by Nick Lehoux, unless otherwise stated.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

More information from Renzo Piano Building Workshop follows:


Kimbell Art Museum

The Kimbell Art Museum's original building was designed by Louis Kahn in 1972.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

The new building by RPBW accommodates the museum's growing exhibition and education programmes, allowing the original Kahn building to revert to the display of the museum's permanent collection.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

The programmes and collection of Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum have grown dramatically in recent years, far beyond anything envisioned by the museum in the 1970s.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Addressing the severe lack of space for the museum's exhibition and education programmes, the new building provides gallery space for temporary exhibitions, classrooms and studios for the museum’s education department, a large auditorium of 299 seats, an expanded library and underground parking.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

The expansion roughly doubles the Museum's gallery space. Furthermore, the siting of the new building, and the access into it from the parking, will correct the tendency of most visitors to enter the museum's original building by what Kahn considered the back entrance, directing them naturally to the front entrance in the west facade.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Subtly echoing Kahn's building in height, scale and general layout, the RPBW building has a more open, transparent character.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

Light, discreet (half the footprint hidden underground), yet with its own character, setting up a dialogue between old and new. The new building consists of two connected structures.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano

The front section, facing the west façade of Kahn's building across landscaped grounds, has a three-part façade, referencing the activities inside.

Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn
Louis Kahn's original Kimbell Art Museum building

At its centre a lightweight, transparent, glazed section serves as the new museum entrance.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
Site plan- click for larger image

On either side, behind pale concrete walls are two gallery spaces for temporary exhibitions.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
First floor labelled plan- click for larger plan

A colonnade of square concrete columns wraps around the sides of the building, supporting solid wooden beams and the overhanging eaves of the glass roof, providing shade for the glazed facades facing north and south.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
Auditorium plan- click for larger image

In the galleries, a sophisticated roof system layers stretched fabric, the wooden beams, glass, aluminium louvers (and photovoltaic cells), to create a controlled day-lit environment.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
South gallery section

This can be supplemented by lighting hidden behind the scrim fabric.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
South gallery elevation- click for larger image

A glazed passageway leads into the building's second structure.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
Auditorium section- click for larger image

Hidden under a turf, insulating roof are a third gallery for light-sensitive works, an auditorium and museum education facilities.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
South Gallery Facade Section- click for larger image

Glass, concrete, and wood are the predominant materials used in the new building, echoing those used in the original.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
West-east elevation

Views through the new building to the landscape and Kahn building beyond emphasise the key motifs of transparency and openness.

Kimbell Art Museum by Renzo Piano
East elevation

The new facility will be highly energy efficient, requiring only one fourth of the energy consumed by the Kahn building.

  • asolitarywave

    One of the lovely thinks about the Kimbell, as originally established, was that it had a set number of works (I think about 350). This meant that in order to acquire new work, the gallery had to sell an existing painting: a policy with lots of consequences. It meant that the gallery was visitable in a day, and not exhausting. It meant that the standard of the collection was uniformly extremely high – when buying a new object, it had to be better than one you already had – the collection could only improve over time, rather than become diluted. And it meant that all (or at least most) of the collection was visible, rather than stockpiled away in the manner of say the Louvre, which exhibits only a tiny fragment of its collection, for simple lack of space.

    This new gallery I think is a result of a break with this curatorial practice, and I’m sad to see it go. The new scheme looks respectful and complimentary to the old one though, which I love.

  • Omnicrom

    Stunningly beautiful addition.

  • TFO

    I think this is a project you need to see in person. The photographs give me the impression this is fairly pedestrian RPBW work (I can’t believe I’m saying that given that even their average work exceeds 95% of what the rest of the profession cranks out).

    The site planning, thankfully, is extremely sensitive to the site, however. Giving greater definition to the lawn/park space in front of Kahn’s building was the best move made.

  • Prole

    Perfectly in keeping with the spirit of Kahn. A sensitive, subtle and exceptionally well detailed addition.

  • pj

    Concrete columns outside look a little forced.

  • Dave

    Lol, What?