Blanton Museum atrium

2015 | Academic

Professor Tamie Glass

The Blanton Museum of Art sits on the SE side of the University of Texas at Austin’s campus, located in downtown Austin, Texas. The Blanton Museum began construction in 2003 and was designed by San Antonio firm, Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects. The museum consists of two buildings with a courtyard in between.  The eastern building houses permanent collections and temporary exhibitions and across the courtyard, the second building houses offices, a cafe, and the museum’s giftshop. 

The two buildings have been successful in their design for art, but lack in creating a social place for students, tourists, and locals to enjoy. In this project, the goal was to socialize the museum. The atrium and the upper lobbies that guide a visitor into the galleries were the only spaces that were open to redesign. 

The Blanton’s visual qualities and material palette were maintained in order to allow the design to have a more expressive form. In hopes that visitors would find their time at the Blanton more fun and personal, the atrium allows them choice and variation through an expressive form. The scheme capitalizes on vertical circulation as the element of choice, and to maintain a balance and sophistication, the scheme became focused on light and texture and less about color. The shell that attaches to and grows from the mezzanine platform allows for unique spaces underneath it, of which light is the main effect. It also provides a dynamic backdrop for the platform for event spaces.

Existing circulation and lighting (in footcandles) in Blanton atrium and galleries.