Exposed and Always Under Construction Formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art, wHY collaborated with…
Museum and Cultural Center Where Art and Nature Rejoice
Located in East Texas, the Tyler Museum of Art is a private, accredited museum encouraging art education in the community. In 2010, the board of the museum commissioned wHY to design a new landmark building upon purchasing a 13.5 acre site on heavily wooded land.
Rather than invading the site by distributing the program in one horizontal layer (typically preferred for museums), the Tyler Museum of Art maintains a small building footprint by stacking a network of spaces around a central atrium. The design strategy establishes multiple visual and physical connections both internally and with the surrounding landscape. Patrons alternate between intimate art experiences and a 360-degree view to the outdoors as they ascend from creek-level classrooms to lobby, theater, library, galleries and an event space at the top. A variety of spaces – including those between the stacked volumes – are organized to provide flexibility in future programming.
The Tyler Museum of Art’s strong educational program dovetails nicely with the gently sloping site and vertical scheme, enabling classrooms and other educational components to have direct access to the outdoors while maintaining a separate level on-grade for public access.