Seven art installations were built within four separate, freestanding enclosures, or pods, as part of the Turrell Retrospective. The structures were located on a 24,000-sq-ft, open, second-floor mezzanine at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Light from custom projectors and computer-controlled LED light fixtures required the construction to be precisely square and free from blemishes. Any surface imperfections on the walls, ceiling or floor would be highlighted and exacerbated by the unforgiving light sources.
To prevent construction dust from infiltrating other areas of the museum, a 25-ft-tall by 250-ft-long temporary curtain was installed at the edge of the construction area. Crews worked with the museum staff to adjust the air conditioning system and implement a negative air-pressure strategy for the mezzanine to discharge outside the building, protecting priceless works of art.
Each of the individual pods was engineered so that it would not be physically attached to the existing terrazzo flooring. This was necessary because the installation was temporary and all traces of construction would eventually need to be removed.
Materials were delivered to the construction area using an existing casement window 8 ft wide by 25 ft tall, typically used to move large art pieces that would not normally fit into a freight elevator. All materials were delivered and removed from this second-floor access point using a mechanical lift parked outside the window. The logistics of this single-point access required careful planning by the team, which implemented lean thinking and just-in-time delivery strategies. Lean principles were also used throughout design and construction.
General Contractor Linbeck Group LLC, Houston
Owner Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Lead Design James Turrell Studio, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Structural Cardno Haynes Whaley, Houston