Page D3.2 . 29 January 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Ando's New Modern


    Fort Worth Predecessors

    The new museum is located in Fort Worth's Cultural District, which may become one of the most celebrated art districts in the country. Within the 950-acre (385-hectare) site, The Modern's new building is one of three outstanding art museums designed by a trio of Pritzker Prize winners and AIA Gold Medalists. Ando's building joins the Kimbell Art Museum, designed by Louis I. Kahn, and the new Amon Carter Museum, designed by Phillip Johnson.

    Directly across the street from the Modern is the Kimbell, regarded by many as one of the best works of architecture of the 20th century. Ando says he experiences "a great deal of excitement to build next to the Kimbell, with the intention not to transcend the work but to build a link to it." One obvious link is that each has a series of long pavilions; Ando's are flat-roofed and Kahn's are barrel-vaulted.

    The two works also share simplicity of material, elegant detailing, and quality of construction. Expressing initial concern that the standard of construction in the United States is lower than in Japan, Ando is satisfied with results and concludes that the museum is "one of the best-finished buildings you can get today."

    He says it is difficult to achieve a sense of intimacy in such a large museum, but he feels it succeeds because of the commitment of the project team. "Each of us functioned beyond our role," he explains. "We were not engineer, architect, contractor, and curator, but just people all trying to do a good job."

    Ando says his dream is that the museum will serve as a nucleus of community, a place to come together, so important in today's high-tech world. With its magnificent art collection and fine education center, the museum stands to serve both patrons and young people well. The terraces that abut the reflecting pool invite evening concerts and activities. Ando says, "I hope that people will enjoy the space and want to have a party here."

    In Fort Worth, a cowboy and an art patron may not only share the same space, but they may also be the same person. How apropos to conjure up and overlap the images of young Tadao Ando, a committed boxer, and Ando today, a sensitive and distinguished designer. The Modern has a good new home.

    Elizabeth Bollinger is a professor at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston, in Houston, Texas.



    ArchWeek Image

    Design sketch of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas by architect Tadao Ando.
    Image: Tadao Ando

    ArchWeek Image

    The dining terrace.
    Photo: Elizabeth Bollinger

    ArchWeek Image

    View out to the pool.
    Photo: David Woo

    ArchWeek Image

    The Modern Cafe.
    Photo: Elizabeth Bollinger

    ArchWeek Image

    View from upper level down the north stairs.
    Photo: Elizabeth Bollinger

    ArchWeek Image

    "The Etruscan," a sculpture by Michelangelo Pistoletto.
    Photo: Elizabeth Bollinger


    Click on thumbnail images
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