Text description provided by the architects. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has finished the second phase in its multi-year campus- redevelopment plan with the completion of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation. The 39,000-square- foot, state-of-the-art facility by Lake|Flato Architects brings the Museum’s distinguished conservation teams together on the main campus for the first time, in one of the largest, continuous spaces for the conservation of any public museum. In a related announcement, the MFAH has received $750,000 in renewed art-conservation funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This grant will be overseen by David Bomford, chairman of the MFAH department of conservation; and Andrew W. Mellon Research Scientist Corina Rogge. It supports a continuing collaboration between the MFAH, the Menil Collection, and Rice University to share resources, research, and expertise initiated in 2006 and recently expanded to the University of Houston. Research begun under the collaboration has since been extended to working with museums nationally, including the Getty Conservation Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH, said, “The new Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation— one of just a handful of purpose-built museum conservation buildings anywhere—dramatically elevates our conservation facilities to the distinguished level of our extraordinary art conservators and scientists. The completion of the center also brings us one step closer to our goal of unifying the Museum’s facilities into one contiguous, 14-acre main campus in 2020.” That campus transformation is the largest cultural project currently underway in North America, with some 500,000 square feet in new construction.
“Our team can now easily collaborate across all areas of the MFAH—from the collections on the main campus to those in our decorative-arts house museums, Rienzi and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens—using the most advanced technology in a space that was designed with the conservation and care of the Museum’s varied collections specifically in mind,” said Dr. Bomford. “Hand-in-hand with the new facility, the Mellon grant now assures that the Museum can continue to support and share the expertise that Dr. Rogge has brought to our projects and initiatives, in particular, those addressing the materials, treatments, and techniques of 20th- and 21st-century art.”