Architect: Tadao Ando
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Site Architect: Kendall-Heaton Associates
Landscape Architect: SWA Group
Structural Engineer: Thornton-Tomasetti/Ellisor-Tanner Engineers
Contractor: Linbeck Construction Corp.
Project Area: 10.96 acres
Project Year: 2002
Photographs: Liao Yusheng
“Space will only have a life when people enter it. So the important role architecture can play, and that space plays within that architecture, is to encourage an interaction between people, between people and the ideas being presented in the paintings and sculpture, and most importantly between people themselves.”
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth exemplifies the work of Japanese architect Tadao Ando through it’s simple geometry, incorporation of the natural environment, and very minimal material selections. Five long, flat-roofed pavilions appear to float atop the 1.5-acre reflecting pond, which is reminiscent of other Ando projects.
Constructed with only concrete, steel, aluminum, glass and granite, the museum is perfectly reflected in the surrounding pond. Beautiful trees and hills enclose the museum, which is typical of Ando’s architecture. Through its pure design, the museum has a striking presence as a modern work of art.
The environment becomes as beautiful as the artwork that the museum displays, as it is heavily intertwined with the display spaces through large windows. The glass and water are very complimentary, as the still pond reflects the spaces just as glass reflects the water.
“By using glass as a wall, physically there is a barrier, a protection from the outside, but visually there is no boundary between outside and inside. There is also the light that comes off the water through the glass that indicates a lack of boundary and can make its presence felt on the wall.”
The use of concrete indicates Ando’s passion in planes and sharp, clean edges that the material allows. The massive planar walls help tell of the building’s basic structure. Contrasted with the natural environment that typically surrounds his architecture, the two elements become even more dynamic. The art museum of Fort Worth shows the finest degree of emphasis on the boundary; using the materials to create architecture that seems to float on the pond that surrounds it.
Light also became key in the design of the museum, with an emphasis on both diffused and reflected natural light. Cantilevered cast-concrete roofs support linear skylights and clerestory windows, which accomodate natural light. Five Y-shaped columns standing 40 feet high support the roof slabs, and have become a symbol of the museum.
The museum is located near Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art museum, as well as the Amon Carter Museum by Philip Johnson. It houses more that 2,600 significant works of modern and contemporary international art in it’s 53,000 square feet of gallery space.