Audrey Jones Beck Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Jose Rafael Moneo Architect
W. S. Bellows Construction Corporation
Location & Year
Houston, TX, 2000
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The Audrey Jones Beck Building is the culmination of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s expansion plans developed over fifteen years. The 200,000 square foot facility provides 86,000 square feet of much-needed exhibition space – catapulting the MFA Houston from 30th to 6th in national rankings of cities for museum exhibition space. Additionally, the adjacent Parking and Service Facility provides space for the central plant, non-arts storage, visitor retail and parking.
The project is designed by Jose Rafael Moneo, the 1996 recipient of architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize.
A series of rooftop lanterns provide natural lighting for many galleries. Clad in Indiana limestone, the building is connected to the original museum and new Parking and Service facility via two newly constructed tunnels.
Two specially commissioned, monumental bronze reliefs by Joseph Havel, titled Curtain, flank the building’s principal entrance, welcoming you to the MFAH’s newest architectural masterpiece. The ground level Beck Building lobby leads into a 70 ft. high, light-filled atrium/sculpture court, a gift shop, and Galleries for prints, drawings, photographs, and American art. Antiquities and European art are presented in 28 classically designed galleries on the second floor. Extensive galleries for American art, photography and special exhibitions are located on each level.
The lower level includes exhibit and curatorial spaces, a café opening to a sunken plaza, and features James Turrell’s The Light Inside in the pedestrian tunnel connecting the museum’s Beck and Law Buildings.