TYLER, TX.- The Tyler Museum of Art is one step closer to building its new home. The Museums Board of Trustees has named the award-winning team of wHY Architecture, led by Yo-ichiro Hakomori and Kulapat Yantrasast, as its principal design architect on the new TMA facility, Director Kimberley Bush Tomio announced.
wHY Architecture is a Los Angeles-based firm with a stellar track record in museum design on projects including Michigans Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Art Bridge spanning the Los Angeles River in southern California, and numerous galleries for the Art Institute of Chicago. Yantrasast, the firms executive/creative director, previously had served as project architect on the team of Pritzker-Prize winning design architect Tadao Ando for the 153,000-square-foot Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which opened in 2002 to international acclaim.
Yantrasast joined forces with Hakomori to form wHY (an acronym for Workshop Hakomori Yantrasast) in 2003, and immediately landed a major assignment to design the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). The 135,000-square-foot facility was praised by Newsweek as a calm and cool modernist building and opened in October 2007 to glowing reviews from a host of national publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Architect Magazine.
This talented young team created a building beyond our expectations. In every detail, the facility was better than we had hoped, GRAM Director Celeste Adams said. They were sensitive to our objectives and knowledgeable about art museums, and we found it to be an extremely satisfying experience to work with them. They are great architects, and are destined for a great future.
Eleanor Cameron, chairman of the TMAs Building Committee, said the Board of Trustees took heed of the acclaim Hakomori and Yantrasast received for the GRAM project bolstered by the Building Committees trip to Grand Rapids to view the teams most recent project in person and quickly grew confident that the Tyler Museum was on the right track to selecting an architect who would envision a successful marriage between the Museum and its community, and to let the new building design emerge from its environment.
In wHY, we know we have hired the right team to work with our vision of what we want the TMA to be for future generations; to find that elusive balance between the needs of the Museum, the possibilities of our building site, and the goals of the city of Tyler, said Mrs. Cameron, who is also one of the Museums founding members. Each of the internationally recognized, award-winning candidates we considered and interviewed brought impeccable credentials and a compelling vision to the table. But what put the team from wHY over the top for our Board of Trustees was its tremendous record of achievement in design for cultural institutions throughout the country and the firms level of sensitivity to the context of our project. It came down to who could manage the goals we laid out and wHY was it.
In addition to its striking design, the GRAM also continues to receive considerable praise as the first new museum construction in the U.S. to receive Gold certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System, which provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. The TMA also plans to pursue LEED certification in its building design, with the goal of becoming the first new art museum facility in East Texas to meet that standard.
The new Tyler Museum of Art must emerge as a civic symbol from the context in which it grows to reflect the history and nature of the local community of Tyler, Yantrasast said. This building should fulfill the mission and program needs of the Museum, and yet be a testimony to the highest cultural achievements of our times in a greater global sense. Our philosophy is harmonious with the Museums objectives, and we are excited about this opportunity to imagine this new facility, which we anticipate will grow organically from this beautiful land and from the art that will be housed and appreciated within this place for the community, for many generations to come.
In September 2007, the TMA finalized the purchase of approximately 13 ½ acres of heavily wooded land, on the southeast corner of the intersection of University Boulevard and Lazy Creek Drive in Tyler, as the site of its expanded new facility. The Museum then invested several months in developing a program for the new building, and selecting an owners representative on the project to assist the TMA in managing the complex undertaking.
The Museum has engaged the services of Mark G. Anderson Consultants (MGAC), an international leader in the management of design and construction projects, to provide project management services for the design and construction of the new facility, which will aim to achieve LEED certification for its sustainable design and construction.
We are honored and privileged to be participating in such an innovative new project that will be both LEED certified and architecturally significant, and will have the Tyler Museum of Art poised for the future, said Mark G. Anderson, president of MGAC.
The current facilities for the Tyler Museum of Art are located in a 15,000-square-foot building adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus. The Museum was designed by E. Davis Wilcox and completed in 1971 with funds raised by the Junior League of Tyler, which then donated the building to the TMA, and sits on land leased from Tyler Junior College.
We would love to stay where we are, Mrs. Tomio said, but the building, which itself was an award-winner when it opened, is landlocked from expansion on the north, west and east sides by the TJC campus and by property to the south. The Museum now has more than 800 objects included in its Permanent Collection, and is scheduled to receive several hundred additional works as a promised gift from the Laura and Dan Boeckman Collection of Mexican and Latin American Folk Art. Add to that the continued growth of our Education Department, the need for more galleries to showcase major exhibitions, the lack of a true lecture hall for our programs, the attendance we see increasing with each special event, and offers from various sources to donate more artwork to the Museum, and its obvious we simply have outgrown our current space.
Once a conceptual design is completed and final costs are determined, the Museum will announce the campaign goal and construction schedule for the building project.
The new TMA will enable us to provide more programming in myriad ways, and better fulfill our mission not only to serve the community but to provide a cultural destination for the entire region, said Steve Manley, president of the TMA Board of Trustees. Several major donors already have stepped forward to pledge their support of this vision, and early projections of the final cost indicate the goal is attainable. The enthusiasm so far has been tremendous, and we are confident our community will be proud of the outcome in every way.