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Tadao Ando

Clark Art Institute Selects Architect Tadao Ando and Landscape Architecture Firm Reed Hilderbrand for Campus Expansion and Enhancement

For Immediate Release

September 25, 2001

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute today announced that it has selected Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando to design a new building for the presentation of its growing collections and critically-acclaimed special exhibitions. The new facility will also support the continued growth of the Institute's seminal research and academic programs, which stand among the foremost in the country, and house the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.  The Clark concurrently announced that it has selected the landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand to work with Ando and the Institute to enhance its dramatic 140-acre Berkshire site.

"Tadao Ando's work demonstrates a sensitivity to those qualities of subtlety and serenity that distinguish the Clark," noted Michael Conforti, director of the Clark.  "We are confident that his design will contribute to the unhurried contemplation of art in an intimate setting that is so central to the Clark experience. Mr. Ando has the ability to harmonize a building's relationship to the landscape, which will enhance the experience of art and natural beauty for our visitors, for the students and scholars who work here, and for the residents of our community."

"We are particularly pleased to bring this internationally recognized architect together with a landscape architect sensitive to the New England countryside," said Francis Oakley, president of the Clark. "We are the stewards of a campus of extraordinary natural beauty and of outstanding collections, and they are in dialogue one with another. Ando and Reed Hilderbrand will bring a consistent, unified, and serene feeling to our entire campus, while allowing for the continued growth of our public and research programs."

Ando was selected because of his outstanding work on projects specifically relevant to the Clark.  These include the Vitra Seminar House, a conference center in Weil am Rhein, Germany, in which the landscape and building are intimately entwined; and the Church on the Water in Hokkaido, Japan, which like the Clark is located in a hilly, rural setting. Above all, the selection committee was impressed by the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan, which is woven within an island site and demonstrates the respect for setting, innovative use of natural light, and serenity of design that makes Ando especially well-suited to the needs of the Clark.

"I am excited to be working with the Clark," said Ando. "The quality of the collections, the range of programs, and the uniqueness of the setting present an intriguing opportunity to blend nature, art, and architecture into harmonious co-existence."

The Clark's new building will be Ando's first museum project set within a rural American landscape. The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Ando's first building in the U.S., opens in St. Louis in mid-October; and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which he is designing, opens in the fall of 2002.  He was also recently chosen to design the Calder Museum in Philadelphia, scheduled to open in 2005.

A self-trained architect, Ando, 60, has worked widely in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France as well as his native Japan. Using the simple geometric forms of traditional Japanese architecture, Ando has designed museums, religious structures, and residential and commercial buildings. In 1995 Ando was awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture's most prestigious award.  His firm is based in Osaka, Japan.

Reed Hilderbrand Associates

Principals Douglas Reed and Gary Hilderbrand of Reed Hilderbrand Associates of Watertown, MA, have worked on a number of projects in western New England, including Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, residential work in Richmond, and Bennington College. Their work in the Berkshires has consistently emphasized the area's rural character, including the types of ponds, trails, meadows, and scenic vistas found on the grounds of the Clark.

"We are honored to be working with the Clark and Ando on making a beautiful landscape more accessible to residents and visitors while strengthening the relationship between the built and natural environment," said Douglas P. Reed, principal of Reed Hilderbrand.

Other notable and relevant projects designed by Reed -Hilderbrand include the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY; the Taft Museum in Cincinnati; the New Shrub and Vine Collection at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University; and an enhancement of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, originally designed by the famous 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead.

The Master Plan

Developed in response to the growth of the Clark's programs, collections, and audiences, the master plan calls for approximately 85,000 square feet of new construction and the renovation of about 10,000 square feet within existing buildings. This includes the new building, being designed by Ando, of a scale compatible with the Clark's existing facilities that will subtly integrate all the Clark's buildings into a new campus environment.

Through the plan, the Clark will realize new galleries for both its growing permanent collection and major special exhibitions; new space for the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, jointly sponsored by the Clark and Williams; new space for visitor services and public education, including an orientation theater, bookshop, and restaurant; new laboratories and support facilities for the Williamstown Art Conservation Center; and facilities for the Institute's expanding symposium and conference program. Additions and renovations to the Clark's library and administrative building, which was built in 1973, will allow for much-needed room to grow.

The Clark's campus expansion will be realized in phases over the next ten years or more. The project increases the Clark's the size of the facilities by about 50 percent.  Much of the new construction will likely be underground, as a way to further integrate the building with the natural surroundings.  New hiking and biking trails through the Clark's acres of woodlands and meadows are also being created, enhancing a landscape that serves as a recreational park for the community and the students of nearby Williams College. Underground parking facilities are also planned, allowing for some current parking to be replaced with new landscaping.

The Planning and Selection Process

The Clark's master plan was developed over a period of several years and incorporates contributions from the public, museum and development specialists, and the professional staff and trustees of the Institute.  

The Clark's architectural selection committee, comprised of architectural professionals, trustees and senior staff, included architectural historian Henry Millon, dean emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art; James Wood, director of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Boston architect William Rawn. The committee initially studied the work of 85 architects relative to the project's specific needs and, subsequently, reviewed the work of 18 firms in detail. After further narrowing field last January, the committee interviewed the finalists, analyzed their relevant projects, and recommended Ando to the Board of Trustees in February. Four finalists for landscape architect were interviewed during the summer. In late August the committee and Ando selected Reed Hilderbrand.

Preliminary design work will begin in October and the current schedule calls for the Clark to break ground in 2004.  An architect based in the United States will be selected to assist Ando's firm.  The Rise Group of Chicago has been selected as project managers. The master plan is being refined by LORD Cultural Resources Planning and Management of Toronto. Until initial designs are conceived, the cost of the project, for which the Clark will seek capital funds, cannot be accurately estimated.

The Clark 

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of the country's foremost art museums and also a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The Clark's exceptional collections of Old Master, Impressionist and 19th-century American art on display in the museum's intimate galleries are enhanced by the beauty of its 140-acre setting in the Berkshires. The Clark is also recognized for its special exhibitions, such as the recent Impression: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, which concurrently advance critical thought and generate popular interest in the arts. 

The Institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation's leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars. The Clark's Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world to pursue research and share new scholarship.  The Institute encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. The Clark also is home to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which serves more than 50 institutions in the region and also provides professional training in art conservation.


Ando to Give Public Lecture at the Clark on November 16, 2001

An exhibition devoted to Tadao Ando's award-winning work, featuring models, drawings, photographs, and videos spanning the architect's career, will open at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, in the spring.  The exhibition has been organized by the St. Louis Museum of Art and opens there on October 5.  Preliminary designs for the Clark's expansion will be added to the MASS MoCA presentation. 

Ando will give a public lecture at the Clark on Friday, November 16, at 5:00 p.m. Reed Hilderbrand will present a lecture to the community in February. 

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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