In Houston, A Building Rises, Along with Expectations

Yoshio Taniguchi, architect of the Asia Society Texas Center's new home, at the Center grounbreaking in Houston in May 2008. (Richard J. Carson/Asia Society Texas Center)

Asia Society Texas Center's new home, currently under construction in Houston's Museum District, received a major publicity boost last week with the appearance of a long preview article in the Houston Chronicle.

Designed by high-profile Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi—best known in this country for his expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City a few years ago—the building measures 38,000 square feet, at a projected total cost of $48.4 million. Taniguchi is famous for his minimalist aesthetic, his perfectionism, and his exacting attention to minute details of his buildings. 

Chronicle reporter Lisa Gray describes some of those details as they were revealed during a recent hard-hat tour of the building-in-progress, where visitors caught glimpses of black volcanic rock floor tiles and walls covered in Jura limestone. 

Gray also speculates as to the kind of reception the new Center will receive in the Museum District, where it will be surrounded by better-known "star-chitect" creations like the Menil Collection, designed by Renzo Piano, and the Cullinan Hall at the Museum of Fine Arts, designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Following the lead of Asia Society Texas Center Director, Martha Blackwelder, the article suggests that the new home will help the Center raise its profile among the heavy hitters of Houston's arts district.  

Groundbreaking for the Texas Center took place in May 2008 and the building's soft opening is scheduled for October 2011, to be followed by a grand opening the next spring. 

Click here to read the complete Houston Chronicle report.

Related links:
Texas Center's New Home Underway
Slideshow: Asia Society Texas Center Breaks Ground

About the Author

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Jeff Tompkins is New York Content Manager at Asia Society.