top of page

2016 MCHAP

The Clark Art Institute

Tadao Ando Architect, Gensler, Reed Hilderbrand, Selldorf Architects

Williamstown, MA, USA

July 2014


Annabelle Selldorf / Selldorf Architects Tadao Ando / Tadao Ando Architect & Associates Maddy Burke-Vigeland / Gensler Garry Hilderbrand / Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture


Craig Schwitter / Buro Happold Consulting Engineers (Structural engineer) Andrew Sebor / Altieri Sebor Wieber (MEP/FP engineer ) Raj Patel / Arup (Consulting Engineer(Clark Center)) Vincent P. Guntlow / Guntlow & Associates (Civil Engineer) Richard Renfro / Renfro Design Group (Lighting consultant (Museum)) Paul Puciata / The Clark Art Institute (Project Leadership) Brian Stacy / Arup (Lighting Consultant (Clark Center)) Scott Bondi / Arup (Curtainwall Consultant (Clark Center))


The Clark Art Inistitute


Jeff Goldberg Todd Eberle James Ewing Mike Agee


A new building to act as the campus entry housing galleries for temporary exhibitions and visitor amenities, and the renovation of the original 1955 Museum building and Manton Research Center to improve and increase space for the permanent collection and research program. The Tadao Ando-designed two-story granite, concrete, and glass Clark Center overlooks a broad three-tiered pool, designed by Ando and Reed Hilderbrand, which integrates indoor and outdoor spaces and creates a visual connection to adjacent buildings and the woodland surroundings. The visitor lobby overlooks the reflecting pool and is highlighted by a dramatic glass and concrete stairway that accesses the building’s new 11,000-square-foot special exhibition galleries. A granite and glass corridor links the Visitor 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. Gensler was the Executive Architect for the new construction and renovation components. Selldorf Architects’ renovation of the Clark’s original Museum Building responds to the new west entry by reorienting the building to its original east-west axis and creating a new ease of access to perimeter galleries. Repurposing former back-of-house space as galleries enables the Clark to present more of its collection in originally scaled galleries. The new design maintains the original domestic character of the building, with views of the adjacent landscape and natural light from both side windows and skylights. Reed Hilderbrand’s new landscape design comprises substantial new plantings of native species, including some 1,000 trees and the concurrent removal of invasive plants; upgrades to the existing network of walking paths and trails; a new entrance drive; and landscaped parking areas.


Located on 140-acres, The Clark Art Institute needed more space to serve its growing exhibition and research program and to connect the visitor experience to its rural landscape. The two existing buildings, the Museum (1955) and the Manton Research Center (1973) presented an already disparate architectural context. The integration of a third building which would in effect unite the other two was sought. With a confined building area due to wetland restrictions and desiring a building scale that would work within the rural landscape, much of the new construction is below grade. The new Clark Center serves as the new main entry. Terraces and a tiered reflecting pool link all the buildings with the landscape including new woodland hiking trails. The Clark receives over 200,000 visitors a year in a community of 8,000 with peak visitation in the summer and fall months. The expansion and reorientation to the landscape enhances the visitor experience with expanded galleries and amenities and an ease of connection to a new network of hiking trails.


The expanded Clark campus has been an unqualified success, welcoming more visitors than ever to its exhibitions and landscape all within a complex and environmentally sensitive design. The Clark’s program space grew substantially adding over 10,000 sf of new galleries for special exhibitions; 2,200 sf of new permanent collection galleries; expanded conference and lecture space as well as a new book shop, café and other visitor amenities. Receiving LEED Gold certification the project includes seven geothermal wells which reduce the consumption of electricity and heating resources by 28 percent. Green roof areas on the Clark Center and the use of green materials (including LED lamps, a Lutron dimming system, and FSC-certified oak flooring) create a new level of environmental stewardship. Cows have grazed the Clark’s Stone Hill Meadow for generations and the Clark has always seen itself as a steward of a working landscape. The new reflecting pools are part of a complex hydrological plan linking foundation and roof drains, HVAC makeup, plumbing, and irrigation, which combined save the Clark over a million gallons a year in potable water - a reduction of 50 percent.

bottom of page