The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art was designed by Steven Holl Architects is located in Kansas City, United States. This competition winning addition is composed of five interconnected structures as opposed to a single massive expansion. Traversing from the existing building across its sculpture park, the five built “lenses” form new spaces and angles of vision. From the movement through the landscape and threaded between the light openings, exhilarating new experiences of the existing Museum will be formed. Circulation and exhibition merge as one can look from one level to another, from inside to outside. The “meandering” path in the sculpture garden above has its sinuous compliment in open flow through the continuous level of new galleries. Glass lenses bring different qualities of light to the galleries while the sculpture garden’s pathways wind through them.
The Bloch Building has been called a process unfolding, a magical response to the landscape and to the original building. The design by Steven Holl Architects was chosen for its unique solution to the Museum’s problem: how to provide more space without compromising the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building. Slender and elongated, the majority of the Bloch Building exists under ground along the east side of the original Nelson-Atkins Building. Rising from the building’s 840-foot expanse are five freestanding structures or “lenses” that emerge from the ground to create an undulating and varied interplay between architecture and landscape, especially within the Kansas City Sculpture Park. Internally, the lenses create vaulted ceilings and cathedral-like spaces. Externally, they ascend out of the ground as sculptural interventions, playing with the landscape and engaging visitors both inside and out to partake in the architectural experience.