Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute

The Menil Collection has unveiled details of the long-awaited Menil Drawing Institute, designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The modest, $40 million institute is projected to be the first freestanding facility in America dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, as well as the Menil’s first major expansion under the ambitious 30-acre master plan designed by David Chipperfield Architects.

Details on the design, after the break...

Topping out at 16 feet, the white single-story structure will be organized around a trio of courtyards, two of which will provide entry to a central “living room.” Optimum daylighting control, similar to the Menil's Renzo Piano-designed Main Collection, will be provided by an ultra-thin steel plate roof, reminiscent of “a piece of folded paper” floating amongst the trees.

Half of the drawing institute’s 30,150 square feet will be devoted to underground storage, while its ground floor will host a 3,000 square foot exhibition space, a scholar’s cloister surrounding the third courtyard, seminar rooms and a conservation lab. 

© Johnston Marklee

"It's very respectful of the environment and yet it really opens up the campus into a new phase," stated Menil director Josef Helfenstein.

Johnston Marklee is also designing a new energy control center for the campus, while Houston's Stern and Bucek is developing the Bistro Menil. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will also aid the Menil’s transformation by revising the campus' Alabama Street entry and implementing a more sustainable landscape.

The Menil Drawing Institute is slated to break ground in early 2015.

Reference: The Houston Chronicle, Houston Culture Map

About this author
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Details Emerge on Johnston Marklee’s Design for the Menil Drawing Institute" 20 Feb 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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