Glenstone Museum  / Thomas Phifer and Partners

Located on 200 acres of rolling tallgrass pasture and unspoiled woodland, the Glenstone Foundation provides a serene and contemplative environment for visitors to view contemporary art. The new Glenstone Museum significantly expands on the late architect Charles Gwathmey’s first museum building, providing new exhibition spaces, collection storage, and foundation offices. From the visitor center, the new museum appears as an ensemble of simple masonry forms embedded in the landscape. At the museum entrance, the forms are defined as a collection of concrete gallery pavilions. These pavilions, each housing the installation of an individual artist, are linked by a passage facing a courtyard water garden.

Architects: Thomas Phifer and Partners
Location: Potomac, Maryland
Photography: Iwan Baan

The pavilion exteriors are composed of six-foot-long, gray-cast concrete blocks, which naturally vary in color and texture. In contrast with the slight, but the deliberate irregularity of the blocks, the windows, with glass as large as nine feet by thirty feet, are precisely detailed windows and set flush into stainless steel mullions. The visitor center and cafe are lined with natural cedar timber. The pavilions are lit with natural light, which enters the gallery rooms through an oculus or lay lights in the ceiling depending on the requirements of the featured works. The architecture of the new Glenstone Museum is characterized by direct materiality and timeless construction.