Earlier this week, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) revealed designs by the six finalists in its International Design Competition, launched to reimagine the museum.
The competition was launched in February as the DMA announced a plan to renovate its facilities in preparation for the eventual growth of the museum’s collection, which in coming years will increase by thousands of artworks that have been promised from local collectors, and to be more accessible and welcoming to the diverse communities the museum serves.
In May, the DMA selected six finalists from over 150 submissions by firms from 27 countries. According to the competition website, the museum tasked each team with creating a concept design that “give[s] the campus greater physical visibility and transparency, show[s] visitors what is going on inside, and make[s] the DMA more welcoming and accessible to all.”
The concept designs will be on view at the museum on the Mezzanine Level 2, outside of the DMA library, through August 30, 2023. Currently, the museum is seeking feedback from the public via the email address [email protected].
See a preview of the concepts below, with descriptions provided by each firm. Click each link below to read more details and see additional images.
Our design concept originates from a profound sense of respect for the existing DMA campus and a desire to deepen its engagement with the energetic qualities of its immediate urban surroundings. An interpretation of the Museum’s most successful qualities has formed the basis of our approach to reimagining a new DMA that is both culturally and socially responsive, and ecologically responsible.
Edward Larrabee Barnes’s 1984 DMA reflects the values of its time—aloof and sequestered from the everyday lives of Dallas citizens. The new expansion will embrace the public. It will allow the DMA to show its growing collection in new ways, reaching across diverse audiences. It will engage the open sites to the north and south to create two new front doors that bookend the Museum, each visually porous and bustling with activity.
Our vision for the DMA is of a museum in a garden. A collection of pavilions and courtyards both existing and new, linked by a lively internal street. A place that welcomes and engages its visitors: where art connects with nature, and culture connects with the city. A museum that is made up of collectives and collections, whose architecture forges connections and dialogues among objects, spaces, and people, between city and museum, between art and life, between old and new.
We believe that the architecture and landscape of the reimagined DMA can weave together the history and the future of both the Museum and Dallas. At the core of our architectural response, we seek to preserve the philosophical aspirations of the original Edward Larrabee Barnes design, modifying it to support the DMA’s evolving requirements. Its stepped gallery sequence is woven together with a new “superfloor” of gallery and program spaces that float above the treetops of the Arts District.
Art inspires the beginning of the architectural project to reimagine the DMA. Claude Monet’s The Water Lily Pond (1903) poetically suggests the reversal of reality in the reflection of water; the lightness of air and clouds versus rootedness in earth and vegetation. Our proposal acknowledges the presence of the original building and its pivotal role in the development of the Dallas Arts District while proposing significant spatial architectural transformations respectful of its recent history.
The DMA is an enduring cultural wonder within the increasingly vibrant Dallas Arts District. We admire the cadence of architecture and landscape central to Edward Larrabee Barnes’s and Dan Kiley’s initial vision, yet the existing building’s opacity and unintuitive orientation conceal the vibrancy of this cultural campus. Our design activates and intensifies reciprocities—architecture and landscape, building and garden, art and community—to construct a new tapestry for the arts. Through strategic subtraction and luminous additions, our design reinvigorates this elegant but fortified structure to signal a new transparency, both literal and philosophical, that welcomes the entire community.