Renzo Piano Kimbell Art Museum Sneak Peek

November 11, 2013 — 22 Comments

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Renzo Piano’s brand new Kimbell Art Museum project. I found myself in this position because I was attending the Texas Society of Architect’s State Convention and had signed up for a tour of the exterior of the building. The project isn’t quite done yet and construction teams are working hard to finish the project in time for the building’s public Grand Opening scheduled for November 27, 2013. As we were milling about waiting for the tour to begin, we were told that they were going to open the building up and give us an extensive look at the interior of the project.

It was a terrific surprise to say the least.

All sorts of information can be found in the Kimbell Art Museum Visitors Guide – which includes floor plans, project and material descriptions – none of which I am going to talk about today. I am just going to publish a handful of the pictures I took so that you can get one of the very first peeks at Renzo Piano’s latest project.


Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum front entry


Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum front entry

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Front ExteriorRenzo Piano Kimbell Museum glass roof

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum exterior elevation 03

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum roof beam at entry

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum roof beam

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum front canopy

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Roof at Entry

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum concrete stairs at entry

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Front Entry interior

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum glass detail

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Front Entry Glass

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Interior Entry

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Lobby 01

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum gallery floor

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery 03

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery 04

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery 01

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery 01

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery Seating

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Gallery Screening at ceiling

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum stairs to lower level

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum interior stairwell

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum lower level hallway

Renzo Piano Kimbell Museum Theater

Grand Opening Renzo Piano Kimbell Expansion

There is an entire day of festivities planned for the grand opening – and it looks like it will be a fun day. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Fort Worth on November 27th, activities on site will include:

Wednesday, November 27, 10 AM – 5 PM 

Bring your friends and family to be a part of the Grand Opening of your Museum’s new building. To celebrate, the Kimbell will give the first 1,000 guests to the Renzo Piano Pavilion free gifts, which will include collector lapel pins and more.

Grand Opening Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony 
10 AM 
Join board members of the Kimbell Art Foundation, Museum director Eric M. Lee, and other luminaries on the Kimbell Green (located between the two Kimbell buildings) for the official ribbon-cutting event, marking the public opening of the new Renzo Piano Pavilion.

Musical Performances in the Pavilion Auditorium
11 AM
Fei-Fei Dong, Piano
2013 Cliburn competition finalist Fei-Fei Dong, will perform a 30-minute recital including works by Chopin and Liebermann. Presented in partnership with the Van Cliburn Foundation.

1 PM
Fort Worth Opera Studio
Young artists will perform Three Little Pigs as part of the Children’s Opera Theatre educational outreach tour.

3 PM
Christopher McGuire, guitar
Presented with Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society

During your visit, save time for drop-in learning programs available in the new education studios or take a self-guided Cultural District architectural walking tour. Brochures are available at the Pavilion’s Information Desk.




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  • glad to know that I scooped Archdaily – they always get to the good stuff first!

    Thanks for sharing the links – but I don’t know if Robert was the one there when I was – unless there was some serious photoshopping going on. Dank, grey skies – construction equipment and cables running everywhere, plastic up on furniture,etc. At least I feel better that we chose many of the exact same shots and angles!

    • Brad Feinknopf

      I thought it might be Polidori because of the 8″ x 10″.

      Bob, regarding the construction equipment, cables, plastic, etc., and I feel like Dr. Seuss saying this, Oh, the stories I could tell. If you think when we show up the shoot a project that everything is peaches and cream, you are living in a dream. there is so much that exist just outside the field of view that you would never imagine. I spend 90% of my time moving furniture and only 10% having the joy of shooting. Dank, grey skies are another thing. If you don’t make friend’s with Mother Nature, you are lost. I try very hard to stay on her good side.

      Regarding your images, you have the eye of an architect and from which most of the best architectural photographer’s come. I give much credit to my father, who dragged me to job site from the time I could walk and wasn’t a bad photographer himself. It all begins with the ability to loo and truly see and you have spent quite awhile looking and that is 99% of being there.

      All the Best,


  • @rico_w

    Wow! Thanks for posting these Bob! Always good to be reminded why this is such a great profession.

    • my pleasure – thanks for leaving a comment

  • footwear police

    no flip flops? and did someone drop some krone on the floor?

    • I don’t even know what that means – can you enlighten me?

      • footwear police

        The two round metal objects on the floor near your feet look like Danish coins (Krone). What are those two objects for?

        • all the conditioned air is supplied through the floor – those two round objects are control points for access.

  • Greg Swedberg

    thanks so much for doing this. I didn’t get to sign up for that tour (needed my CEUs), and only sat through the lecture talking about the building. I love your ability to photograph the attitude of a space or detail.

    • Thanks Greg – originally it was only supposed to be a tour around the outside, I feel quite fortunate to have be privy to this sneak peek!

      • Greg Swedberg

        yeah, if I had known that, I probably would have made more of an effort to sign up for that. Regardless, thank you for sharing.

  • Kyu Kim

    Thanks for the sneak peak! As one who frequents the California Academy of Sciences, I recognize a lot of similar and same (nothing wrong with that!) details. Beautiful project and great pictures!

    • there is definitely some shared vocabulary to this project. I think he definitely has a recognizable style, you know a Renzo Piano building when you see it.

  • Kevin Keller

    There’s really only one word to describe this: sexy.

  • Brad Feinknopf

    Thank you for sharing. I have cousins in Fort Worth and have visited the Kimbell on numerous occasions. Looks like it might be time to revisit BOTH.

    I have to ask, who was there shooting with an 8″ x 10″? Glad to see that there are still some old school folks out there.

    • I don’t know who was using the 8×10 – they weren’t with us. Pretty sure that with the looming opening, the museum has other people at work documenting and creating things for distribution.

      Love to hear your opinion once you go –

  • Courtney Price

    Glad you included the schedule of opening events, it looks amazing- your photos are incredible.

    • Thanks – hard to get the shots as you are being herded around, trying to capture the image while moving and looking for that 1/8th of a second where nobody is standing in your frame scratching their butt.

  • Robert Moore

    Again great photos.
    I would have been interested in a narrative explaining each shot and why you thought it was an important detail.

    • in order to do that, I would have to understand what was going on in each shot … That having been said, I will probably revisit these images once the building is open and I can understand the building with a bit more context in place. As it is, I don’t particularly care for most of the building – it seems overly fussy. One of the things I did not care for are the elaborate ceiling systems that simply get covered up once you get into the upper level galleries.

      This project had a hard road to hoe with a 20th century masterpiece across the yard from it in Kahn’s original Kimbell Art Museum (which was able to capture and deal with the Texas light with a grand total of 4 pieces). Piano’s Nasher is also a masterpiece and had a complicated glass roof system, but it’s design was celebrated in its expression and his Kimbell expansion – while beautifully detailed, doesn’t seem to capture that same magic.

  • Kerry Hogue

    great photos, thanks for sharing Bob.
    I think you would have thought to polish your shoes before posting a photo of them on your well-read blog!

    • they are polished! (just not shellacked). They are also my “architectural walking around shoes” so they are very well worn