Steven Holl Designs Glassell School of Art in Houston

The facade of sandblasted concrete is disrupted with abstractly shaped windows. All images courtesy Richard Barnes.

Steven Holl Architects has completed work on the new Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The new institution arrives as the first phase of the museum’s 14-acre redevelopment plan. The school is slated for inauguration later this month as the sole museum-affiliated art school in the country that also serves pre-K and graduate students. The final phase is forecasted to wrap by early 2020.

Images courtesy Richard Barnes.

A network of sandblasted, planar concrete comprises the face of the 93,000-square-foot structure, punctuated by windows of varying abstract shapes. The L-shaped facilities surround the central sculpture garden, which is designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates. A grass-topped roof slopes up along the longer side of the building to form a ramp that extends to crowns the building with the BBVA Compass Roof Garden.

Images courtesy Richard Barnes.

Beyond the entrance, guests are welcomed by a cascade of levels at the forum that shape a space of informal learning. A 75-seat auditorium is also installed onsite. Nearly 23 studios are shared between the core program as well as the junior school, in addition to eight core-fellow studios. Each of the spaces has been crafted to maximize flexibility, proportions, and lighting. A café will overlook the plaza on the ground floor, and an education court will connect to a sculptural tunnel that links the school to the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building.