Sustainable Design for the Kimbell

Robert LaPrelle for The Texas Tribune. The $135 million Renzo Piano Pavilion in Fort Worth will house Asian art and visiting shows.

Robert LaPrelle for The Texas Tribune.
The $135 million Renzo Piano Pavilion in Fort Worth will house Asian art and visiting shows.

November 25, 2013

By Dr. Tyra OldhamLANDsds Sustainable Voice News

The beauty of  art and architecture coalesce to bring avant garde sustainable buildings into reality.  Museums  and social public spaces are leading the way to provide new constructions that are points of attraction and provide education on green building. The new construction of  “The Kimbell’s Stylish, Sustainable New Addition” is an example of modern design and artistry.

“Over nearly 50 years, Mr. Piano has designed notable buildings like the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his association with Texas institutions of fine art dates back more than a quarter-century to his 1987 Menil Collection in Houston. Eight years later, he designed the Cy Twombly Gallery in the same city and in 2003 his Nasher Sculpture Center opened in Dallas.”

“But the $135 million Piano Pavilion is, perhaps, Mr. Piano’s most subtly ambitious Texas work to date — in part because the structure was commissioned to serve one of the most revered museum buildings in the country, designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn,” reports New York Times.

The design integrates sustainability engaging environment from grey-to-green methods producing, “the pavilion’s roof with fritted glass and fabric scrims, over which lies a network of aluminum mechanical louvers, or slats, that open and close to control and diffuse the amount of light let into the museum.” The design is to use light as a tool, art and efficiency.

“The evenly distributed natural light cuts down on how much electricity the Kimbell might otherwise use to illuminate the gallery spaces. Moreover the tops of those aluminum louvers are covered with photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, that harvest sunlight to generate electricity for the museum.”

“The solar cells produce the energy to illuminate the building at night,” Mark Carroll, the pavilion’s lead architect and partner with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, wrote in an email.”

Exterior: The buildings use of 36 geothermal wells, each one 460 feet deep, to harness the more stable temperature of the ground water to heat and cool the building.  The use of a green roof  consisting of a 19,200-square-foot green sod roof covering the museum’s western pavilion. It insulates the building from both the sun and the cold. “And unlike from a traditional roof, you will avoid lots of wasteful rainwater runoff into a nearby gutter,” said Kathryn Holliday, director of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Interior: The galleries’ white oak plank floors (with quarter-inch gaps between the floor boards) are made to be breathable, allowing low-velocity air to circulate throughout the pavilion. The air-displacement system uses less energy, and air is sent only where there are people.

Sustainability and green construction can lead the way to new design and opportunities to integrate the environment and interior for a collaborative “newstruction”.  When art is considered for form and space the opportunity for architecture is advancing new design as an ecosystem to optimize social engagement and health.


LANDsds Sustainable Voice is a news platform to share interconnected ideas, innovation and observation-The Nexuses.

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Posted in Architecture, Art, Construction, Ecosystem, Education, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Green, Health, Innovation, Lighting, Renewables Alternatives, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainability Nexuses, Sustainable Art, Sustainable Development, Voice News, Zeen Architecture
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