A Growth Engine, Done In by the Development It Inspired
Built in 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center played an important role in the recent renaissance of Downtown Dallas – a revitalization that now comes at its own peril.
"The center, designed by Renzo Piano and Peter Walker, was considered so appealing that a 42-story condominium called Museum Tower sprouted across the street," Pogrebin writes. "But the glass skin of the condo tower, still under construction, now reflects so much light that it is threatening artworks in the galleries, burning the plants in the center's garden and blinding visitors with its glare."
"The museum was forced to install light-blocking panels inside the roof for a recent exhibition of works by Elliott Hundley because the reflections from the tower exceeded the acceptable light levels for the art," explains Pogrebin. It also had to take down an oil painting by Picasso, and dismantle a contemporary installation "because its roof aperture was meant to reveal open sky, not a skyscraper."
Scott Johnson, the Los Angeles-based architect of Museum Tower, insists on a bilateral resolution: "My responsibility is to fully vet solutions vis-à-vis Museum Tower - that's my building. But I can't say sitting here now that the Nasher may not need to do something on their end."
Piano was quick to rebut: "What do you do - put a roof on the garden? You destroy everything," he said. "They must solve the problem because they created the problem."