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Tyler Museum of Art Announces New Building Project Details

Members of the Tyler Museum of Art’s new museum project team of architects continue to make both national and international headlines. Earlier this month, the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky opened an exhibition titled Unveiling the New Speed: A Model of the Future designed to showcase its $79 million expansion led by TMA project architects, wHY Architecture. Doug Reed of Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects was awarded the esteemed Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Reed Hilderbrand was chosen by the TMA to design plans for the new museum project in 2008.

Now through March 2012, Speed Museum visitors can view plans for the massive renovation and addition designed by wHY Architecture which encompasses over 200,000 square feet. The museum plans to begin construction on the new addition beginning this year. The new Speed project constitutes the largest capital campaign project ever untaken in Kentucky. wHY was charged with creating a space that made its nearly windowless, 1920s original building more inviting and accessible to the public.

wHY Architecture is a Los Angeles-based firm with a stellar track record in museum design including Michigan’s Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Art Bridge spanning the Los Angeles River in southern California, and numerous galleries for the Art Institute of Chicago. Kulapat Yantrasast, the firm’s executive/creative director, previously served as project architect on the team of Pritzker-Prize winning design architect Tadao Ando for the 153,000-square-foot Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which opened in 2002 to international acclaim.

Yantrasast joined forces with Yo Hakomori to form wHY (an acronym for Workshop Hakomori Yantrasast) in 2003, and immediately landed a major assignment to design the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). The 135,000-square-foot facility was praised by Newsweek as a “calm and cool modernist building” and opened in October 2007 to glowing reviews from a host of national publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Architect Magazine. The firm was announced as project architects for the new museum project by the TMA in 2008.

In addition to the Speed Art Museum project, wHY is also working on a large cultural project in Cairo, Egypt for Bibliotheca Alexandria, one of the oldest libraries in the world. The team will design a cultural complex in Cairo that includes conference center, exhibition spaces, research centers, offices and a museum to house the collection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Adam Henein, one of Egypt’s most famous artists.

Members of wHY aren’t the only TMA project architects making headlines. The prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome is to acknowledge the leading, emerging artists in the nation and to award them the opportunity to refine their abilities by immersing themselves in the abundant art and architecture opportunities of the city and surrounding areas. Dog Reed, landscape architect for Reed Hilderbrand, is currently enjoying an eight-week stint in Rome as one of the Rome Prize recipients.

The Tyler Museum of Art’s capital campaign for the new museum project continues to move forward and gain momentum, positioning the community ever closer to a new TMA. Near the end of 2010, the Museum announced that the construction documents designed by wHY Architecture had been completed and approved by its Board of Trustees.

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit

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