Design Excellence Awards

< Back to Design Excellence Awards

Student Commercial Design Excellence Award
Presented to University of Texas at Austin
The Blanton Museum
Austin, Texas

Project Description

The project scope was redesigning the atrium and upper lobbies of the existing Blanton Museum of Art. A current issue of the space is that it does not encourage interaction between visitors, thus the aim of the redesign included promoting socialization.

The design solution focused on creating a flexible system that would allow for different programs, and to add a seating area that enables visitors to interact and socialize.

Thus, the system created is based on panels that slide through tracks. It is flexible and allows for arrangements such as displaying individual art pieces on each panel, creating a separate, enclosed gallery inside, or as a backdrop for objects on display.

On the second floor, a bridge was designed to link the two upper lobbies. The widening in the bridge allowed for a seating area that would not interfere with pedestrian traffic. The underside of this platform included tracks for the panel system on the ground floor. In addition, a lowered ceiling was incorporated into the two upper lobbies so that the panel system could be installed there as well.

This system is useful for the Blanton since they have a wide variety of exhibitions and activities. These events have different requirements, and the panel system can easily accommodate for them. If there was a new exhibit that needed a dark surrounding, the panels can be used to close off the area on the ground floor and limit the daylight. This area could also be used to play a documentary. Sometimes the Blanton hold cocktail parties, and the system was designed so that the panels can be removed and stored to open up the ground floor.

The seating area connected to the bridge takes advantage of the existing conditions of the Blanton. The unique roof allowed for a comfortable atmosphere that is well-lit with daylight and not blinding. Thus, visitors are at ease in this relaxing environment and more likely to interact with others.