The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown opens its expanded and reconceived 140-acre campus oafter nearly fifteen years in the making, reconceptualizes the visitor experience of the Clark and represents the most significant transformation of the Institute since it opened in 1955.
Combining the talents of four noted architects, the project unites the new Clark Center— designed by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Osaka, Japan—with the renovated Museum Building and Manton Research Center designed by Selldorf Architects, New York.
These buildings surround a new one-acre reflecting pool, which is the highlight of a dramatic rethinking of the Clark’s landscape of trails and walkways reconceived by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gensler, New York is the Executive Architect and sustainability consultant for all phases of the project.
The project adds more than 13,000 square feet of gallery space to the campus, supporting the Clark’s expanded collection and exhibition programs, and establishing the Institute as a leader in best practices for sustainability and energy efficiency.
The Ando-designed stone, concrete, and glass Clark Center, situated northwest of the Museum Building, is the new centerpiece of the Clark’s campus and serves as its primary entrance.
The two-story building overlooks the three-tiered reflecting pool, designed by Tadao Ando and Reed Hilderbrand, integrating indoor and outdoor spaces and creating a stunning visual connection to adjacent buildings and the woodland surroundings. The building provides 11,000 square feet of special exhibition space in galleries located on both floors of the building.
The lower-level galleries are partially situated beneath a green roof that forms an exterior courtyard at the main entrance to the facility. The lobby overlooks the reflecting pool and is highlighted by a dramatic glass and concrete stairway that accesses the galleries, dining, and family areas located below.
The Clark’s primary retail facility is located on the building’s first floor, with interiors designed by California-based wHY Architecture and Design, led by principal Kulapat Yantrasast, who also designed Café Seven, the Clark’s new dining facility.
A granite and glass corridor links the Clark Center to the Ando-designed Museum Pavilion, a glass structure that creates a light-filled transitional space connected to the Museum Building’s new west-facing entrance.
“I like to accomplish art spaces that inspire viewers and evoke their creativity and freedom of thinking,” said Ando. “I have always been in awe of the Clark’s unique sense of place in nature. In both the Clark Center and Lunder Center, I have tried to express a deep respect for the landscape outside and an equal reverence for the art inside. It is critical that the art speak for itself and that viewers experience it in their own way.”
Location: Williamstown, USA
Architect: Tadao Ando
Partner: Reed Hilderbrand
Area: 11,000 sf
Photographs: Tucker Bair
Article by Marco Rinaldi