The Glenstone Museum was a project commissioned by the couple Emily & Mitchell Rales, owners of an extensive art collection. They opened their private art collection to the public in 2006, in a gallery that still stands today in the Glenstone property designed by Charles Gwathmey. Years later they set up a design competition by invitation, and Thomas Phifer won the commission after 9 months of working towards the final submission.
The concept of the museum was to create several rooms that were placed around a central reflecting pool. Each of the rooms would be designed to showcase specific works of art and for the permanent collection, artists were involved in the design process. That is why some rooms have cladded walls, and others don’t. The amount of natural light that goes in each room through windows and clerestories was designed with extreme precision, for the requirements of the specific art work to be displayed.
The 11 rooms called the Pavilions are made of 6 foot long concrete blocks, which were cast at different times of the year and show natural variation in color. Each Room is unique in its proportions; some host changing exhibitions while others are purpose-built to house a particular artist’s work. The rooms are connected by a glass-enclosed passage that looks out onto an 18,000 square foot water court that is home to seasonally changing plant life.
The owners wanted to create a “slow and quiet” experience for the visitors, which is why a limited number of tickets are available for each day, and why we organized the group tour months in advance. The museum provides much more space surrounding each art work than in other art museums and galleries, to enhance the experience the visitor can have with each art piece.
The landscape was completely integrated into the architecture and create different experiences as one explores the Glenstone grounds.
Thank you to everyone who came out to visit this beautiful work of arfchitecture, art and landscape with LA.IDEA!