Clark Art Institute Unveils Tadao Ando's Designs for Proposed "Clark Greylock" Facility at Phelps Knoll

For Immediate Release

July 15, 2003

*Clark announces internationally recognized architect's first wooden building outside Japan.

*Proposed structure to house new exhibition galleries, educational and conservation facilities.

*20-acre park-like setting to be accessible to the public, with facilities available to the community.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (July 15, 2003) - As part of its master plan for building expansion and campus enhancement, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute today unveiled designs for a proposed new facility in a park-like setting with extraordinary views of Mt. Greylock. "Clark Greylock," as the proposed arts and educational center is called, would be located behind the hill known locally as Phelps Knoll along Route 7 in Williamstown. It is the first phase of the Institute's design for its current campus on South Street at Stone Hill. The Clark has commissioned world-renowned architect Tadao Ando to design a building of wood and glass that will house exhibition galleries, studio space, public amenities, and a new home for the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, and will provide additional resources for community programs and educational partnerships. The 40,000 square foot (gross) building, estimated at $17 million, would be Ando's first wood clad structure in the United States.

Clark Greylock is the second site for which the Clark has commissioned Ando, the Pritzker-Prize-winning architect whose designs for the Clark's Stone Hill campus - featuring a one-and-a-half acre reflecting pool and a 95,000 square foot addition that will include new special exhibition galleries, visitor amenities, and space for the Clark's seminal Research and Academic Program -- were unveiled in March. The selection of Ando extends to the new location the Clark's long tradition of land stewardship, demonstrated by the sensitivity to nature seen in Ando's designs at Stone Hill. The design takes advantage of the beauty of Phelps Knoll and its views while respecting and celebrating the landscape.

"As he has done for our Stone Hill campus, Mr. Ando has designed a building for Clark Greylock that is striking, yet blends organically into its wooded surroundings," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "This project brings a different kind of building by this great, internationally recognized architect to this country, and it extends our public art exhibition and educational mission by providing space for new programs. Clark Greylock allows us to preserve the garden atmosphere of our main campus while bringing our mission of 'art in nature' to a second location in the community, making that piece of land accessible to residents and the many visitors who come to Berkshire County each year."

The glass and wood structure would be set back from route 7, just below the top of the hill. The highest point of the site, Phelp's Knoll, would be maintained as a picnic and viewing area. Nestled into the natural slope, Clark Greylock would appear as a one-story building with a 20,000 square foot footprint; two additional levels placed below, on the back side of the hill. About 1/3 of the structure would be below grade.

Two large porches, measuring 670 square feet each, would provide outdoor space taking advantage of the views of Mount Greylock to the east and south. The eastern side of the site, facing Route 7, would be landscaped with a combination of meadows and woodlands in keeping with the natural beauty of the site. The western side of the site and its mature woodlands will remain virtually untouched.

Clark Greylock would include four exhibition galleries totaling 2800 square feet, a 700 square foot studio art classroom, and a 450 square foot meeting room for use by the community, as well as 2000 square feet for a lobby, store, and café. Publicly accessible art storage would add 700 square feet to the gallery space, and there would be 2000 square feet of storage space.

"These public areas will help the Institute expand its exhibition and education mission, functioning as both a community resource and cultural destination," said Conforti. "We currently project summer exhibitions there will focus on photography, prints, and drawings. The galleries would also be available several weeks each winter for student shows, including work by students from Mount Greylock Regional High School. The nature of the new facility would give us the freedom to explore different kinds of exhibitions that the formality of our main galleries precludes, to we could stretch into new areas."

The resources at Clark Greylock would be available to neighboring Mount Greylock Regional High School and Sweetwood Continued Care Retirement Facility. Last week, the Clark and Northern Berkshire Health Systems, operators of Sweetwood, announced the shared programs under discussion, including internships, exhibitions, studio art classes, and other potential opportunities for cross-generational learning.

Clark Greylock would also include 13,000 square feet of space for the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), one of the nation's premier conservation facilities, which provides essential art restoration to the Clark and to more than 50 other member institutions. In addition to providing the necessary space for the conservation lab -about 40 percent more than at its current space on South Street-the design calls for large windows that would give visitors the opportunity to view conservators at work. Gallery space could also be used to exhibit works of art that have undergone conservation at WACC.

The Institute will maintain the grounds at Clark Greylock for recreational use by the public as well as provide scenic viewing points for the vista over the rolling hills and meadows known as "the Hopper" to Mount Greylock. The site would also remain open for hiking, running, and skiing, with many existing trails to remain and some portions of the trail to be rerouted. Institute officials have met with cross-country skiing and running coaches at the high school and Williams College to discuss the best approaches to the trail system used by both institutions as well as private individuals.

Clark Greylock represents the first phase in the Institute's overall building expansion and campus enhancement. In relocating the conservation center from its existing facility on South Street, the Clark will eventually build on its current site the Visitor, Graduate, and Conference center, most of which will be underground. Ando's South Street design also calls for the expansion of the Institute's 1955 white marble permanent collection building that will include new galleries for American art. Landscape enhancements are also planned for the main campus.

Cooper, Robertson & Partners of New York City, master planners of the Clark's South Street campus, have created the master plan that connects Clark Greylock via trails to Sweetwood and MGRHS. Gensler, the New York City-based architect of record, is involved in interior design along with Ando's firm.

The Institute unveiled its proposed Clark Greylock plans in anticipation of a purchase and sale agreement with the land's current owners, Northern Berkshire Health Systems. A final agreement is anticipated later this summer. The Institute hopes to break ground on the project by March 2004, which would open to the public in 2006.

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 its dramatic 140-acre setting in the Berkshires.

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 and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world. Its Fellows and conference programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world.

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