Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

City

Region

Cladding Area70 000 sf

ArchitectSteven Holl Architects BNIM

OwnerNelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Project type

Phase of InvolvementDesign
Construction

Type of Construction,

Year of Completion2007

Steven Holl conceived his expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as the insertion of a long, slender underground space and five interconnected structures that emerge from it, acting as “lenses” of light within the landscape in front of the existing Beaux-Arts museum building, built in 1933.

The centerpiece of the design, the luminescent character of the new structures’ primary façade system is achieved by employing channel glass in a unique manner. By day, the glass provides indirect, museum-quality light in the buildings’ interiors, and at night it diffuses interior light, illuminating the building’s exterior surfaces and casting an ethereal glow on the Nelson-Atkins campus.

Channel glass, traditionally used in industrial contexts, is a relatively a new building material in the United States, and Heintges designed strategies for this original use of it. To accommodate buildings’ significant inter-story movements, Heintges developed a unique channel-glass support system that is now in standard use by the industry. Heintges also proposed and developed the first use of this glass in a double-skin climate-wall construction, employing dual-mode humidity control to meet the challenges of a humidified museum environment.

Heintges provided curtain wall and building envelope consulting services during all phases of design and construction, and conducted research and testing of the properties of channel glass.

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Photographs 1-4 by Timothy Hursley; Photographs 5-9 by Andy Ryan; Photographs 10 & 11 by Heintges & Associates.