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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, United States

Taubman Museum of Art sets new architectural direction for Roanoke
With the Taubman Museum of Art, designed by Los Angeles based Randall Stout Architects, Roanoke in Virginia gets it first purpose built art museum. It also gets an adventuresome work of architecture, which like that Guggenheim Bilbao, is expected to jump start the region’s economy and bring visitors in droves to the steps of the new museum. It’s a tall order indeed, especially considering that art museums around the county reported a disappointing financial first quarter, causing many, including the Taubman, to drastically cut programs and staff.

In its forms and materials, the 81,000 sq ft museum is a sculptural ode to the surrounding Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains and the region’s early industrial beginnings. Crafted of steel, patinaed zinc, and high-efficiency glass, the building houses flexible galleries for the museum’s permanent collection of 19th and 20th century American art; expanded educational facilities; a multi purpose theatre; cafĂ©; and museum store on three levels. Outdoor terraces provide views of the city beyond.

As with other projects designed by Stout, the public spaces, including a central atrium that soars to a height of 77 feet, are dynamic and sculptural while the gallery spaces are conventional in their geometry to meet the demands of exhibiting art, which favors a planar over a sculptural language.

The building features many sustainable design components including natural lighting, radiant heating and cooling, an energy efficient envelope and computerized building management systems.

The museum opened to the public in November 2008.

Sharon McHugh
U.S. Correspondent
architecture NOW

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