McNay Art Museum, Texas

A two storey expansion that shines a new light on outdoor works

The extension of the McNay Museum of Modern Art, otherwise known as the Jane and Arthur Stieren Exhibition Center, is a long volume glass on two levels embedded within a vegetal slope.

At the highest level, the glass-faced façade offers a view overlooking the undulating sculpture gardens and opens up onto an outdoor terrace. At the lowest level, the glazed façade plays hide-and-seek with the outdoor spaces.

In essence, disappearing behind paved terraces and reappearing again towards the sculpture gardens to then fade again behind the planted slope. In the garden of the sculptures, the alignments of stone walls are punctuated by the fabric of the building and define the three outer galleries extending the atmospheric experience of the interior space to the exterior.

The design of this museum is based on the conviction that works of art should be exhibited and valued in natural light as they were once created in that same state

An ingenious roofing device with a thickness of approximately 2.20 meters has been developed for this specific project. A machine that treats light enacting as a cover composed of several layers that at times breaks, diffuses and regulates by means of motorized horizontal blinds the vibrant burning light of southern Texas. It also controls its intensity and direction.

The roof is cantilevered along the facade and thus, protects the exhibition galleries from direct sunlight. The exhibition spaces are vast and modular free from structural constraints.


VIGUIER architecture urbanisme paysage

Associate architects
Ford, Powell & Carson, Architects and Planners, INC

Engineering firms Fluids
Wieber, LLC

Engineering firm Structure
Robert Silman Associates

Engineering firm Façade


Computer-generated images
Atelier Connoly Cleary

International Architecture Award 2011

Jean-Paul Viguier

Partner/Leading architect
Blin Vose-Trincal

Project team
Giovanna Chimeri
Céline Lemercier
Kari Silloway
Cédric Nieser
Pierre-Henri Cazes

Architecture paysagiste
Pierre-Henri Cazes (étude phase APD jardin des sculptures)