A selection committee for the Menil Collection in Houston has announced the finalists in a competition to design a new 18,000 square foot building that will eventually house the Menil Drawing Institute. The list of finalists includes David Chipperfield, Tattiana Bilbao, Sanaa, and Johnston Marklee.
Two of the Menil Collection’s buildings, including the 13,000 square-foot Cy Twombly Gallery, were famously designed by Renzo Piano. Menil does not, however, currently have the space to display the more than 1,200 works on paper by the likes of Rembrandt, Delacroix, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Lee Krasner, Jasper Johns, and Richard Serra, currently in its collection.
The opportunity to design a building to supplement Piano’s first two U.S. commissions, and be included alongside such heavyweights as Chipperfield and SANAA, comes as a major win for LA-based firm Johnston Marklee. The firm’s current projects include a new studio campus for the UCLA Graduate Art Program in Culver City; DEPART Foundation’s Grand Traiano Art Complex in Grottaferrata, Italy; Poggio Golo winery in Montepulciano, Italy; Vault House, a private beachside residence in Oxnard; and Chile House/META, a community arts center in Penco, Chile.
According to Houston Culture Map, the final site for the MDI is yet to be determined and the selection committee allowed finalists free reign to develop “larger architectural concepts rather than specific designs.” Sarah Whitting, committee member and dean of Rice University's architecture school, tells HCM that teams have only programming, dimensions, and budget: "The parameters are quite broad so as not to impede the possibilities of these four firms' projected visions."