FORT WORTH, TX—The Kimbell Art Foundation announced today the opening of its scenic new car park on February 12, which completes the final phase of development of the Kimbell campus. The new Kimbell East Parking area provides an additional 227 parking spaces, including 11 accessible spots, plus enhanced bicycle parking and lush, drought-resistant landscaping with recreation areas and pedestrian walkways. It is sited directly across Van Cliburn Way from the Kimbell Art Museum and across Darnell Street from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and will open to art museum visitors on Monday, February 12.
Following the completion of the Kimbell’s Renzo Piano Pavilion in 2013, which is situated directly across the lawn from the Kimbell’s landmark 1972 building by Louis I. Kahn, the members of the Foundation’s board of directors recognized the need for improved parking. They envisioned a space that would not only support parking for commuters but also serve as an appropriately adorned gateway to the city’s celebrated Cultural District. Local architect Joe Self and design partner Tracy Self, principals at FIRM817, were chosen by the board to design and implement the project.
“It was always recognized that a pleasant experience at the museum begins the moment patrons enter the campus – and that often happens by car,” commented Joe Self. “We wanted to create a sense of scale that moved people from the fast-pace of the surrounding road to a calmer and slower pace. We never tried to exactly match the Kahn building nor it’s paving but we hoped that when one stands within the new parking area and looks towards the Kahn building they will see a certain kind of compatibility.”
Upon approach from the Cultural District’s busiest street, University Drive, visitors will be greeted by a minimalist terraced garden spanning almost the entire city block. The planting system is constructed of architectural concrete and cor-ten steel, a material similar to that of the Richard Serra sculpture located outside the southwest corner of the Modern.
Joe Self notes that, “the new east parking area is, at a certain level, a tapestry of plantings, materials, color, light and even machines - the cars. We tried to weave things together in a way that might not be noticed at first glance but that will, over time, emerge as pleasing.”
From within the car park, it will be apparent that every detail was chosen to harmonize with the surrounding architecturally significant buildings. Traditional asphalt was replaced with concrete pavers in varying earthen tones to highlight the spacious parking and curbs, similar to the granite pavers in the Kahn Building’s parking. Boxwood hedges and ground cover help define pathways to both museums with ambient lighting layered throughout. Striking stainless steel and ipê wood boxes house essential utilities. Visitors with mobility challenges will be pleased with the multiple handicapped-accessible parking spaces along with sidewalk ramps, extra-wide paths and a raised walkway across Darnell Street.
The completed site is over six acres, with approximately one-third of the area devoted to green space. It boasts 127 trees, 67 of which were native to the site prior to construction. Included among them is the John Peter Smith Oak, a noted Fort Worth Heritage Tree that has long been cared for by the Kimbell Art Foundation. The centuries-old, sprawling oak is now the focal point of the area and enjoys a new environment of lush lawn, designed for the tree’s long-term health and visitor recreation. Live oaks, cedar elms, river birch and red maples have also been planted. The popular walking path that looped the site was retained and enhanced with shrubs and lighting to accommodate pedestrians and passersby.
The Kimbell’s East Parking is the last area in the art museum triangle of the Cultural District to be developed. It was once home to the Fort Worth Independent School District’s administrative complex, until the offices were relocated to 100 University Drive in 1993. With the cooperation of FWISD and the gracious collaboration of the Van Zandt family—the former land owners—the Kimbell Art Foundation was able to purchase the land in 1998. With the completion of these grounds, the Kimbell now has 465 parking spaces.
The Foundation specifically thanks the extraordinary professionals at Preservation Tree Services for their excellent care of the Kimbell campus’ lush canopy of trees, including the noted John Peter Smith Oak .
FIRM817 is an architecture firm focused on design at every scale, with projects large and small. Architecture, landscapes, furniture design, graphic design and art installations are offered by the firm in an effort to create a broad environment. Joe Self, Principal Architect at FIRM817, has a Master of Architecture degree from Rice University and a Bachelor of Science of Architecture degree from The University of Texas at Arlington. He is a registered architect in the state of Texas. He founded FIRM817 in 2000 with a sculpture commission. Tracy Self, Principal Designer at FIRM817, joined the firm in 2002, and their work has been profiled in 360West, INDULGE, the Star-Telegram and other publications. Tracy has a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and studied design at TCU.
General Contracting: Innovative Developers Inc., Glen W. Hahn and Robert A. Edmondson
Structural Engineering: Callahan Engineering, Pat Callahan and Brian Graves
Electrical Engineering: Roberto Torres
Planting Consultants: Fowlkes, Norman and Associates Landscape, Mark Fowlkes and Ange Harvey. Belle Firma; Kori Haug and Arron Law
Lighting Consultant: Essential Light Design Studio, Jill Klores and Alyssa Humphries
Security Consultant: EMC Security, Jimmy Marshall and Jacob Savoie
Accessibility Consultant: Atelier Design Associates, Michael J. Love and Sharon Massey
Kimbell Art Museum
The Kimbell Art Museum, owned and operated by the Kimbell Art Foundation, is internationally renowned for both its collections and for its architecture. The Kimbell’s collections range in period from antiquity to the 20th century and include European masterpieces by artists such as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Poussin, Velázquez, Monet, Picasso and Matisse; important collections of Egyptian and classical antiquities; and Asian, Mesoamerican and African art. Admission is always free to view works in the permanent collection.
The Museum’s 1972 building, designed by the American architect Louis I. Kahn, is widely regarded as one of the outstanding architectural achievements of the modern era. A second building, designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, opened in 2013 and now provides space for special exhibitions, dedicated classrooms and a 289-seat auditorium with excellent acoustics for music.
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Jessica Brandrup, ext. 241, or
Head of Marketing and Public Relations
Kimbell Art Museum