The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas designed by Renzo Piano and the neighboring 42-story Museum Tower are embroiled in a dispute revolving around the adverse effects of glare reflecting into the Nasher’s interior gallery and garden. Currently in mediation over possible solutions, the topic certainly brings to light the implications involved in highly glazed high-rise construction and the surrounding buildings. More details after the break.
The Nasher Sculpture Center opened in 2003, and typical of many cultural institutions increased the value and appeal of surrounding land – which would eventually lead to the construction of the Museum Tower. A key element in these types of buildings is the careful control of sunlight in order to protect the internal exhibits. Thus, the Nasher was equipped with custom aluminum sunscreens over its glazed barrel vaulted roof with specifically oriented oculi to the north. The parcel of land adjacent to the Nasher, which is now home to the Museum Tower originally had a covenant to limit the amount of reflective glazing which could adversely impact the Meyerson Symphony Center and the as yet to be built but developing Nasher Sculpture Center. However, that stipulation expired prior to construction of the new tower.
Currently the interiors of the museum are being blasted with concentrated reflections that pose potential dangers to the exhibits and are raising the temperatures of the gardens to damaging heights. Herein lays the current dilemma that the two parties are entangled in – who steps forward to mitigate the problem? No doubt the interior objects and spaces of a building type such as the Nasher require regulated control of their interior environments – which will need to be remedied. Without picking sides here, the greater question that comes to mind is how to effectively provide a solution that works in unison with both buildings. There are numerous strategies that have been employed all over the world on high-rise buildings to lessen the effects of solar glare to both the internal occupants and the buildings that encircle them. A few examples to name that eloquently control adverse solar effects are the Jean Nouvel’s Doha Office Tower in Qatar and Aedas’ Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi – both of which utilize a culturally sensitive mashrabiya screen system over glazed curtain walls. Perhaps, a cue from the sunscreen that Renzo designed for the Nasher could be complemented on the Museum Tower?
There are also a couple examples not too far away, most notably Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles – which had to have portions of its stainless steel façade sanded to reduce the intense glare on nearby buildings, and Vdara hotel in Las Vegas, which at certain times of the day and year reflects hot spots down onto the pool area hot enough to melt plastic.
We would certainly like to open up this conversation for input from our readers – whether it is possible solutions or general discussion on the topic of adverse reflectivity and glare from neighboring buildings.