Since plans began forming in 2019, news regarding the expansion of the Dallas Museum of Art has hardly been splashy, especially considering it would be the museum’s first major renovation since 1993. This morning, however, the fanfare bar has officially been raised. With the announcement of an international design competition, architects from around the world will be considered for a campus “reimagining” budgeted at $150 to $175 million, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The first stage of the open search for an architect-led multidisciplinary team calls on local, national, and international talents to submit their team composition, experience, and reaction to the project by March 15. Then, the real fun begins. After five teams have been selected, their concept designs will be on display online and at the Dallas Museum of Art, offering the community an opportunity to provide feedback. (All finalists will receive compensation for their work, to keep the process equitable and open to firms of all sizes.)
A winner is expected to be announced in August of 2023 and will lay the first real groundwork for the DMA’s future, which requires two major architectural goals. The first is to “enliven” Edward Larrabee Barnes’ original Arts District building. The architect’s 1980s design was lauded at the time for its dignified simplicity, but it can be difficult to navigate and arguably too restrained. And though the museum was once the only building in the Dallas Arts District, it now feels disconnected from community neighbors like Klyde Warren Park.
“The whole site requires a holistic and focused strategy that will bring life to the DMA campus and make this complex building readable and easily navigable,” reads the “Design Challenge” portion of the competition site, which also notes a reimagining of event spaces and a focus on sustainability.
The second — and perhaps the main — objective is creating more space. In addition to rethinking the internal layout of the building, the Dallas Museum of Art has — as director Agustín Arteaga told the Dallas Morning News — “run out of room.”
That room is also required for thousands of contemporary artworks that were bequeathed in 2005 (in a collection of gifts dubbed “Fast Forward”) by notable Dallas arts patrons Robert and Marguerite Hoffman, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and Deedie and Rusty Rose, and will eventually be housed at the DMA.
The splashy Dallas Museum of Art announcement comes on a meaningful date, the 40th anniversary of the Dallas Arts District’s establishment on February 16, 1983.
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