The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Breaks Ground on the Fayez S. Sarofim Campus

80 percent of funding in place for the $450-million capital and endowment project

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 10/15/2015, 7:12 p.m.
Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects, launches first phase of construction for a transformational campus plan; Deborah ...

Houston—October 15, 2015—Today, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, formally broke ground for the Fayez S. Sarofim Campus, and also announced Deborah Nevins & Associates as the project’s landscape architect. Featuring the new Glassell School of Art and the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building for modern and contemporary art, both designed by Steven Holl Architects, as well as the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation, designed by Lake|Flato Architects, the Sarofim Campus plan will transform the 14 acres of the MFAH property into a pedestrian-friendly cultural zone. Completion is slated for late 2019.

Richard D. Kinder, chairman of the MFAH, commented, “We have broken ground not only on a new building for the Glassell School of Art, but also on a reimagined campus that will transform the visitor’s experience of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and create an urban oasis here in the heart of the Museum District.”

Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH, said, “The Glassell School has been central to Houston’s art community for nearly three decades, and its origins date to 1927, when a Museum School was established shortly after the MFAH opened. Steven Holl Architects’ design for its new home, with its open circulation, generous outdoor spaces for performances, and varied gathering places for students of all ages, will allow the school to become a welcoming public gateway to the Museum campus.”

“To break ground beginning with these inspiring spaces for art education is a great honor,” remarked Steven Holl. “The first phase of this important, unified urban campus for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will create architecture that provides vital service for the arts and Houston’s expanding cultural community. Welcoming students of diverse ages and experience, the Glassell School of Art will also provide exceptional public spaces to be enjoyed by visitors from Houston and beyond.”

Artist Joseph Havel, director of the Glassell School of Art, said, “The Glassell School of Art is best known outside of Houston for its prestigious Core Residency Program and its influential alumni, who include Trenton Doyle Hancock, Julie Mehretu, and Shahzia

Sikander. But the local impact of the junior and adult schools— which combined serve some 7,000 students each year—has also been profound, helping to create an audience for art in Houston and building a community for people of all ages who are committed to making art a more significant part of their lives.”

Commenting on the selection of Deborah Nevins following an international search, Tinterow said, “The goal of the landscape plan for the Sarofim Campus is to create pedestrian connections among the Museum’s five principal buildings, and a series of outdoor spaces that will animate the public’s experience of these 14 urban acres. Deborah Nevins comes to the project with a human-centered perspective on the challenges and opportunities inherent to the brief, which is to skillfully knit together our various buildings, respecting their place, and to manage the garden and public areas as transitions between them.”

Steven Holl Architects’ New Glassell School of Art: A Gateway to the Fayez S. Sarofim Campus