This year is my last at Texas A&M University as an architecture student. As a senior, there is one very important semester you take where you will design a project with all of the structure and systems solved to the best of our abilities. The studio requires you to have partner so my dear friend, Kendall, and I decided to team up and I could not be more proud of what we created. The semester was extremely stressful and I could not imagine being with anyone else. Enjoy the project, we worked nonstop for three months, did not sleep for so many nights, and gave ourself crippling anxiety but, it was worth it.
I will be trying to catch up on all the other posts that I have been lacking on because of this project. But for now, I am just finishing out my year by applying to graduate schools and sleeping a lot. WISH ME LUCK!
Originally founded in 1948, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston has been a long time destination for experiencing innovative art. Now on a site located at the corner of Montrose Boulevard and Richmond Avenue, this project aims to continue the CAMH’s mission of exemplifying today’s art by providing an architecture that appropriately houses exhibitions while engaging Houston’s diverse community. Formally, this project is a series of interlocking rectangular volumes of various sizes. The sizes of each volume relate directly to the program and spaces of the museum. The galleries are arranged following a principle of separating the large primary volumes with smaller transition spaces. This was designed to create a promenade of experiences within the multi-height gallery spaces. The volume organization results in large areas of free space, allowing for views into multiple areas at once. The building’s entrance is off of the corner of Richmond and Montrose to engage the busiest corner of the site’s area. The ground floor consists of a lobby, reception, street level gallery, museum shop, and cafe. The cafe leads to an outdoor sculpture garden. The grand staircase in the lobby leads up to the main level of galleries. The staircase also leads down into the lower level, where the public can experience a large auditorium. Also located in the lower level, there is museum storage. The upper level of the museum has three large galleries and a multi-purpose room open to the public. Privately, a wing of offices are located above the parking garage. The offices include a reception, director’s office, finance office, and conference rooms. The steel structure allows for long spans throughout the project. The minimal number of columns in the project creates open public spaces and free plan galleries; both of these spatial conditions are ideal for the flexible arrangement of future exhibitions. The structural grid and layout of the beams and joists frames the openings that our daylighting sits upon. The large atrium and three public galleries were strategically placed to be top lit. The daylighting system brings in an optimal amount of daylight; the galleries receive even lighting without letting the artwork have harmful exposure to direct sunlight. The fan rooms of this building are located within the concrete cores of the structure. They are placed strategically to provide a sensible paths for the airflow in different zones of the building. The cooling towers are located on the parking garage. The chiller and boiler rooms are located within the basement of the museum next to the gallery support. The parking garage is site-cast concrete post-tensioned one-way joists with 18” depth. On the exterior of the building, there are undulating skin panels with a series of apertures that receive light. The three main galleries are articulated with the skin in order to show from street level where the main art of the museum is. The skin is continued onto the lobby facade where the apertures can be seen from inside the building, letting in some daylighting.
Project and images by Sophia Kountakis and Kendall Slaughter.