Austin by Ellsworth Kelly
Owner: The University of Texas at Austin
Lead Design Firm: Overland Partners Inc.
General Contractor: Linbeck Group LLC
Civil Engineer: Garza EMC
Structural Engineer: Datum Engineers
MEP Engineer: Arup Texas Inc.
Subcontractors: Acton Mobile Industries; Ambrose Taylor LLC; Anton Cabinetry; Building Image Group Inc.; Cardno Inc.; Carrillo’s Cleaning Services; Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing; Environmental Allies Inc.; Environmental Design Inc.; Keystone Concrete Placement; L.A. Fuess Partners Inc.; Legacy Masonry LLC; Lone Star Paving; Maldonado Nursery & Landscaping Inc.; Marek Brothers Systems Inc.; MEMCO Inc.; Overland Partners Inc.; Patriot Erectors Inc.; R&J Protection Corp.; Regal Brass Services; Sharp Glass; The BILCO Co.; The Brandt Cos. LLC; Toman Brothers Inc.; Viking Fence; Western States Fire Protection Co.; Worldwide Pest Control Inc.; WPM Construction Services Inc.
A thorough coordination of materials and precise planning helped the project team bring to life the final work of internationally acclaimed artist Ellsworth Kelly, who died in 2015.
Kelly designed the structure more than 30 years ago, but it was never built. The stone, chapel-like Austin building is now part of the permanent collection at the University of Texas’ Blanton Museum of Art. The building and everything in it is considered a single piece of art. Before construction could begin on the $10.5-million project, every aspect of the installation had to meet the artist’s specifications.
The 5,000-sq-ft project features hand-blown colored glass, 14 marble wall panels and a totem constructed from reclaimed redwood. To satisfy the artist’s requirements for quality craftsmanship, the contractor assembled an international team of material suppliers and artisans.
Designing and installing systems such as HVAC infrastructure and structural supports in a structure not intended to have them also proved challenging. The design team’s meticulous efforts ensured that the artist’s vision was realized while also providing for patron comfort.
To overcome poor documentation of underground infrastructure, the contractor collaborated with the owner and design team to provide real-time feedback on the cost and scheduling of relocating the infrastructure.