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Nasher Sculpture Center
Renzo Piano

May 26, 2003 /

Dallas, Texas, USA

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Photo: Tim Hursley

The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the few institutions in the world devoted to the exhibition, study, and preservation of modern sculpture.

Situated in the heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District at the base of the city's skyline, the Nasher Sculpture Center represents Mr. Nasher's vision to create an outdoor "roof-less" museum that will serve as a peaceful retreat for reflection and contemplation of art and nature. 145 trees have been planted in the two-acre garden.

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Photo: Tim Hursley

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Photo: Tim Hursley

The gallery building features long walls faced in two-inch wide slabs of Italian travertine that define five, equal-sized, parallel pavilions. The exterior stone is rough and pitted, while the interior walls have been smoothed and honed to remove the weathered outer layers, exposing the creamy surfaces beneath that will serve as quiet background for the sculpture.

Each pavilion is enclosed by glass facades that allow the galleries to visually extend into the garden, providing unobstructed, continuous views from the street, through the building and across the length of the garden.

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Photo: Tim Hursley

Building upon the concept of a "museum without a roof," the building's  barrel-vaulted ceiling features delicate glass panes suspended atop narrow steel ribs and supported by thin, stainless steel rods. The innovative cast aluminum sunscreen device - specially designed for this project -  floats above the glass allowing controlled natural light to filter into the galleries, eliminating the need for artificial illumination much of the time.

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Photo: Tim Hursley

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Photo: Tim Hursley

The three central pavilions on the main floor contain galleries, while the outer two accommodate accommodate offices and public space, including a store and cafe.  The lower level houses an additional gallery for the display of environmental and light sensitive sculptures and works in other mediums, as well as an indoor auditorium that opens onto an outdoor terraced garden.

The sculpture garden features settings that frame the outdoor works and include stone walls and walkways, ponds, scattered groves of trees and small meadow areas.  Approximately 20 larger scale sculptures from the Nasher Collection will be on view in the garden at any one time.

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Photo: Tim Hursley

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Photo: Tim Hursley

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Photo: Tim Hursley

Comprised of more than 300 works, the Nasher Collection is one of the most important collections of modern sculpture in private or public hands and includes masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miro, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, and Serra, among many others.

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Sketch courtesy Renzo Piano Building WorkshopSketch of Interior Gallery Bay

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Drawing courtesy of Interloop A/DSite Plan
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Drawing courtesy of Interloop A/DGround Floor Plan
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Drawing courtesy of Interloop A/DSections

Facts about Nasher Sculpture Center

Site Area:

2.4 ac
Building Area: 54,000 ft2
Indoor Gallery Area: 10,000 ft2
Outdoor Exhibition Area: 62,000 ft2

Project Team:

Renzo Piano
E. Baglietto (associate in charge)
B. Terpeluk

Landscape Architect: 

Peter Walker and Partners

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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