Clark Begins Construction on Phase One of Expansion and Campus Enhancement Project Designed by Tadao Ando
For Immediate Release
August 11, 2006
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has begun construction on the first phase of its multi-year expansion and campus enhancement project, designed by Pritzker-Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando with landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand Associates. The new Stone Hill Center, a 32,000-square-foot, wood-and-glass building, will house new, intimately scaled galleries, a meeting and studio art classroom, an outdoor café, and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC). It is scheduled to open to the public in the summer of 2008. Located on the wooded hillside of the Clark’s 140-acre campus, along Old Stone Hill Road, the new building will reinforce the Clark’s standing as one of the few of the world’s major art museums located in a dramatic rural setting.
Construction of a new Exhibition, Visitor, and Conference Center, the second phase of the expansion, will commence in 2010. The Clark’s overall expansion will provide additional space for presenting, conserving and enjoying art, as well as for research and scholarly programs.
“We are delighted that construction of the Stone Hill Center is underway,” said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. “The wonderful views from the site, and the ways in which Ando and Reed Hilderbrand have integrated the building and its materials with the site, enable one to easily envision what a special art in nature experience we will provide for our visitors.”
Designed to take advantage of the natural slope of the site and the dramatic views to the north, east, and west, the center will be a two-story structure, with only one level visible above ground from the main entry to the south. The building will be open to the landscape on all sides and a large terrace will provide spectacular panoramic views of the Green Mountains and Taconic Range. Large expanses of glass will capture the much-needed northern light for the conservators and allow visitors a view into the studio spaces.
Stone Hill Center represents a new direction in choice of exterior materials for the architect. Clad primarily in both wood and glass, it will be Ando’s first wood-clad building outside of Japan. While he has selected architectural concrete to form the retaining walls and the “7-wall,” a main feature of the design that forms the terrace and courtyard, he has chosen a more expressive, board-form concrete instead of the highly polished architectural concrete for which he is best known. Formed with southern yellow-pine, the texture of the wood comes through the concrete to create a surface that it is more reflective of the building’s woodland setting.
The Clark just announced that it has received an $800,000 challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan. The estimated cost of the Stone Hill Center is $25 million of which $15 million will be raised and $10 million financed. The Clark has already raised more than $10 million towards its goal. The Kresge Foundation awards its prestigious and highly competitive grants on a challenge basis to assist in completing significant capital campaigns. An important goal of the Kresge challenge grant is to help institutions broaden their traditional base of support by encouraging them to reach out to a more diverse donor base.
“This grant from The Kresge Foundation is a major boost for us. This endorsement of our project and fundraising success to date from one of the most prestigious foundations in the country is a powerful symbol to other donors and will go very far in helping us reach our ambitious goal,” said Conforti.
Location and interiors of the Stone Hill Center
The center will be located approximately 1,000 feet south of the Clark’s 1973 red granite building. The meadow and crest of Stone Hill, a well-known feature of the Clark’s campus, will remain untouched, and the Clark will maintain and add to the walking and hiking trails on the site.
A country drive will connect the Stone Hill building to the main campus. In addition, there will be a scenic trail for visitors, which will be integrated to the system of already well-used trails on the hill. Visitors and local residents who hike, ski, and snowshoe on Stone Hill may also use the new parking lot. The year-round terrace will be used as an outdoor café in the summer and for occasional special events.
Featuring small, chapel-like galleries, the space will host intimate exhibitions of works of art from the Clark’s collections, or objects on loan from periods and origins not normally seen at the Clark, such as 20th-century paintings, photography, and Asian art. Space surrounding the building will be ideal for outdoor sculpture installations. A flexible meeting room/studio art classroom will allow the Clark to offer hands-on art classes and other educational programs for which there are no current facilities.
Building Expansion and Campus Enhancement
In 2003, the Clark unveiled designs by Tadao Ando and Reed Hilderbrand Associates for a comprehensive expansion and campus enhancement. The Clark’s new buildings will be Ando’s first museum project set within a rural American landscape. The project encompasses the Stone Hill Center, which is the first phase of the project, as well as an Exhibition, Visitor, and Conference Center, housing enhanced special exhibition galleries and providing much-needed additional space for conferences and symposia.
Enhanced visitor amenities, such as a new shop and restaurant in the Exhibition, Visitor, and Conference Center, will support the Clark’s role as a public art museum. The project also includes the renovation of the original museum building, which houses the permanent collection, and new gallery space for American art and decorative arts. The 1973 red granite building that serves as the main visitor entrance will be renovated to provide more space for the Clark’s Library and its special collection of works on paper. A dramatic reflecting pool will connect all of the buildings on the main campus and reorient them toward the beauty of Stone Hill.
The Williamstown Art Conservation Center
The Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), a nonprofit organization located on the campus of the Clark, treats objects ranging from historic artifacts, antiques, and heirlooms to some of the most important paintings, watercolors, drawings, photographs, sculpture, and furniture in the country. Founded in 1977 to address the conservation and preservation needs of a small consortium of collecting institutions in the Northeast, the center now serves more than 55 member museums and historical societies, as well as many individuals and corporations.
Set amidst 140 bucolic acres in the picturesque Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums in the United States that is also a leading international center for research and higher education. In addition to its extraordinary collections, the Clark organizes groundbreaking special exhibitions that advance new scholarship and enhance the public understanding of art. The Clark’s research and academic programs include an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. Upcoming exhibitions at the Clark include Claude Lorrain – The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum (Spring 2007) and The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings (Summer 2007).