This fall, Stanford University
will open the McMurtry Building, an innovative new facility to house Stanfords Department of Art & Art History as well as the Art & Architecture Library. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the 100,000-square-foot space will unite the making and studying of art at Stanford under one roof for the first time. Open to students in time for the fall quarter and with a dedication ceremony on October 6, 2015, the $85-million building is the newest addition to Stanfords burgeoning arts district at the entrance of campus. The building is named in recognition of the generosity of Deedee and Burt McMurtry, MS '59, PhD '62, whose transformative $30-million gift made the construction possible.
The new McMurtry building will further the interdisciplinary investigation of the arts to which Stanford is committed, said Matthew Tiews, Associate Dean for the Advancement of the Arts. We believe the arts are a necessary part of a well-rounded education. They stimulate analysis and problem-solving, as well as providing a means for self-expression and connection with the university community. Were very grateful to Burt and Deedee McMurtry, whose extraordinary gift has given life to this pioneering space. Im confident the McMurtry Building will foster deeply enriching experiences for students and faculty in the Department of Art & Art History and from across the campus.
The new facility and its state-of-the-art equipment will support the Department of Art & Art Historys diverse programs and teaching missions for both undergraduate and graduate students. The vision for the building was developed with the leadership of the faculty, together with the office of the dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources. Students of art practice, which includes design, digital media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture, and Stanfords Film & Media Studies Program, which includes documentary filmmaking and film studies, will work alongside their peers studying art history. The new facility will create unprecedented opportunities for
collaboration, exchange, and cross-fertilization. Located adjacent to the Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection at Stanford University, the McMurtry Building is porous and inviting, with a number of entryways to encourage informal engagement with the arts. Its location in Stanfords arts district creates opportunities for students to work with, and be inspired by, the unparalleled art collections found next door.
"The McMurtry Building allows us to imagine new and different ways of teaching," said Nancy J. Troy, current chair of the Department of Art & Art History. "Now, we and our students have an opportunity to rethink customary practices. The design features of the space encourage all of us to engage with one another in new and intensive ways, enhancing our methods, scholarship, and creative processes."
The McMurtry Buildings expanded studio space allows the Department of Art & Art History to increase art practice course offerings by over 35% in the next two years, answering growing student demand for fine arts classes. Additional spaces include a second digital media studio and a digital darkroom, a print lab, a tinker lab, a sound recording studio, and larger studios overall. Studios and classrooms will be outfitted with new equipment, including 3D scanners and printers, laser cutting technology, a computerized CNC router for cutting wood, aluminum, steel and plastics, and digital printmaking technology. Art history and film studies classes will benefit from the latest high-end digital projectors in all classrooms and a 45-seat screening room.
"The department's new home in the McMurtry Building will give us a chance to expand our teaching in many ways, but we will remain focused on giving our students something harder to define, more difficult to quantify, namely, a lifelong dream and realization of what it is to study art, to make art, to think about art," said Alexander Nemerov, the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities and the incoming chair of Stanford's Department of Art & Art History.
The Department of Art & Art History will present a number of special programs and art installations to commemorate its inaugural year in the McMurtry Building, including lectures, performances, art exhibitions, and film series. The McMurtry Building will host faculty projects including an interdisciplinary performance installation by Department of Theater and Performance Studies faculty member Aleta Hayes and undergraduates that emphasizes the buildings unique architectural form. Lectures and symposia will be
offered throughout the year in a range of subjects, including an Architectural History Conference in November, and a visit from writer and New Yorker critic Hilton Als in January as part of the ongoing Christensen Lecture series. The buildings many spaces to display art will be highlighted through temporary installations such as Anthony McCalls Leaving (with Two-Minute Silence), a video-light work consisting of two parallel projected digital videos, produced with music by composer David Grubbs, and a light and sound installation by Nighthouse Studio, an artist collaborative founded by Elaine Buckholtz (MFA '07) and Flor van de Velde. The 1,000-square-foot Penny & Jim Coulter Art Gallery located in the heart of the building will open with the second annual undergraduate juried exhibition, featuring the work of students from various majors across campus. To celebrate the opening of the McMurtry Building, the neighboring Anderson Collection will present a focused exhibition of work by Tauba Auerbach and Mark Fox, both Stanford graduates who explore ideas of process, material manipulation, and chance. Auerbach received her BA in Visual Studies in 2003, and Fox received his MFA in 1988.
About the Design of the McMurtry Building
The McMurtry Building takes the form of two interlocking strands, allowing the art practice and art studies programs to retain their distinctive identities. The art history and studying strand has a cement plaster exterior, a traditional material on Stanford's campus that embraces the university's aesthetic and building heritage. The art-making strand has an industrial, contemporary, and hand-finished appearance with a custom
The Art & Architecture Library, located on the building's middle floor, functions as the intersection point between the two strands. The strands meet around a central second-floor library creating a shared interior space, a sheltered courtyard below and a roof garden above. Appearing as a floating glass box, the library offers views of every floor through a stunning central glass oculus. Every aspect of the building, which includes
24,000 additional square feet of courtyard space, is designed to encourage intermingling amongst students and faculty from all disciplines.
"While the building was inspired by the traditional arcaded courtyards of Stanford's historic buildings, its dramatic sculptural presence is unique on campus," said architect Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which designed the project with executive architect Boora Architects. "It is an architecture that both illustrates and contributes to the pedagogical practices of the multiple disciplines housed within."
The McMurtry Building will include a number of exhibition spaces that will function as dynamic resources for faculty, students, and guest artists where best practices for exhibition and curatorial development will be established, and innovation and experimentation are encouraged. The Coulter Art Gallery will feature the annual undergraduate juried show, the annual design MFA thesis exhibition and annual first-year exhibition for art practice MFA students. An expansive glass vitrine in the Moghadam Family Gallery Arcade and adjacent Gunn Foyer will welcome visitors by showcasing student and faculty works.
Translucent studio and classroom walls will create encounters with art throughout the building, while also allowing abundant natural light into the space. Faculty offices will be located on the third floor, while the buildings lower level will house extensive photography darkrooms, computer art labs, and film editing suites. The Nancy and Larry Mohr Student Exhibition Gallery on the lower level dedicated to student-curated
exhibitions, along with two critique and installation spaces, will allow for temporary, interactive installations throughout the year in conjunction with the diverse art practice courses offered.
The Oshman Presentation Space, a 125-seat flexible interior room that can serve as a lecture classroom with retractable seats, a performance space with acoustical walls, or a presentation space for work in various media occupies the buildings first floor, along with a sculpture studio and dedicated screening rooms. Facing east, the glass garage-style door of the Oshman can open for outdoor performances or close to accommodate
presentations or lectures. The door opens to a lawn shared with the Cantor Arts Center, creating a potential space for programmatic interaction between the buildings. Located adjacent to the Rodin Sculpture Garden, this dynamic space presents the opportunity to bring art practice outside the McMurtry Buildings walls.
About the Arts at Stanford
Stanford University has a long history of strong undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities and arts, as it recognizes the importance of creative thought in a well-rounded education. With the Stanford Arts Initiative, originally launched in 2006, Stanford has increased its arts facilities, introduced diverse academic offerings in the arts, and created a new curriculum requirement that all Stanford undergraduates take a class in creative practice. The university continues to expand its arts resources for students, faculty, and the surrounding Bay Area community with creative offerings that reflect the regions tradition of innovation. For nearly a decade, Stanford has been committed to developing an arts district on campus, which includes the existing Cantor Arts Center, Frost Amphitheater, and Memorial Auditorium. When it opens in fall 2015, the McMurtry Building will be the third building constructed for the arts district in as many years, following the Bing Concert Hall (2013) and the Anderson Collection at Stanford University (2014).
In early 2016, Stanford University will unveil the renovated historical Roble Gym with a new Arts Gym, where students can craft, practice, and perform creative work of all kinds. The Arts Gym will encourage creative engagement and collaboration by offering a drop-in space for shared art-making. The idea for the Arts Gym came from Stanford students, who expressed a desire for a space to practice and develop artistic skills among their peerssimilar to the facilities provided to athletes for practice and training. The Roble Gym renovation will also include renovated dance spaces and a new black-box-style studio theater space.
About Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an international design firm that spans architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. The studio established its identity through experimental large-scale installations, curatorial and performance projects, and works in media and print. DS+R is led by three partners Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro who work collaboratively with a team of 100 designers, artists, and architects on the design of each project. For their commitment to merging art and architecture with issues of contemporary culture, founding partners Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio were recognized by the MacArthur Foundation genius award, the first given in architecture. Recent and ongoing architecture projects include the High Line park, redevelopment of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the expansion of The Museum of Modern Art, and the new start-up Culture Shed, all in New York; the Institute of
Contemporary Art, Boston; The Broad Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Image and Sound, Rio de Janeiro; Zaryadye Park, Moscow; and the United States Olympic Museum, Colorado Springs. The studios recent art projects include Musings on a Glass Box for the Fondation Cartier and Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.