The expansion of The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art fuses architecture with landscape to create an experiential architecture that unfolds for visitors as it is perceived through each individuals movement through space and time. The new addition, named the Bloch Building, engages the existing sculpture garden, transforming the entire Museum site into the precinct of the visitors experience. The new addition extends along the eastern edge of the campus, and is distinguished by five glass lenses, traversing from the existing building through the Sculpture Park to form new spaces and angles of vision. The innovative merging of landscape, architecture and art was executed through close collaboration with museum curators and artists, to achieve a dynamic and supportive relationship between art and architecture.
As visitors move through the new addition, they will experience a flow between light, art, architecture and landscape, with views from one level to another, from inside to outside. The threaded movement between the light-gathering lenses of the new addition weaves the new building with the landscape in a fluid dynamism based on a sensitive relationship to its context. Rather than an addition of a mass, the new elements exist in complementary contrast with the original 1933 classical Temple to Art:
Original Building/New (in Complementary Contrast)
Inward views/Views to landscape
Directed Circulation/Open Circulation
Single Mass/Transparent lenses
The first of the five lenses forms a bright and transparent lobby, with café, art library and bookstore, inviting the public into the Museum and encouraging movement via ramps toward the galleries as they progress downward into the garden. From the lobby a new cross-axis connects through to the original buildings grand spaces. At night the glowing glass volume of the lobby provides an inviting transparency, drawing visitors to events and activities.
design architects: Steven Holl, Chris McVoy project architects: Martin Cox, Richard Tobias local architect(s): Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell Architects
Gabriela Barman-Kraemer, Matthias Blass, Molly Blieden, Elsa Chryssochoides, Robert Edmonds, Simone Giostra, Annette Goderbauer, Mimi Hoang, Makram el-Kadi, Edward Lalonde, Li Hu, Justin Korhammer, Linda Lee, Fabian Llonch, Stephen ODell, Susi Sanchez