19. September 2013

Completion of Renzo Piano’s Expansion to the Kimbell Art Museum

from Angie Tennyson

Renzo Piano’s expansion to the Kimbell Art Museum is near completion. The Opening Day for the Piano pavilion will take place on November 27th, 2013.

The expansion includes a 300-foot-long, 22-foot-high building composed of two parallel wings. Eric Lee, Director at the Kimbell Art Museum, presents an early look at the Piano pavilion.  Test your thermal bridge knowledge: See if you can find the where the Isokorb® structural thermal breaks would be included in the building:

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So, did you find where the Isokorb connections are?

The answer: Isokorb® connections can be found in two separate applications in the Piano pavilion, structural steel connections as well as structural concrete connections.

The first Isokorb® connection is in the roof system of the eastern part of the building. The roof is supported by a total of 29 pairs of 100-foot wood beams. The laminated wood beams include steel headers. This allows the beams to be paired with Isokorb® connections to provide a column-free space for the full width of the 102-foot bays. The wood beam pairs are connected by Isokorb® type S, steel connections, at the beams steel headers. Each pair of beams weighs 15 tons (30,000 pounds).

The roof system includes fritted (frosted) glass which supports solar cells to collect energy. The solar cells are on adjustable louvers, which allow the control of light in the building. In addition, Isokorb® type S can be found at the entry, where the roof cantilever shield the building’s glass front and interior from the sun. The wooden beam system was designed in collaboration with the New York–based Guy Nordenson and Associates as structural engineers.

Delivery of 100-foot wooden beams with Isokorb connections at steel face plates.
Delivery of 100-foot wooden beams with Isokorb connections at steel face plates.
Wooden beams for roof structure transported to Kimbell Art Museum project.
Wooden beams for roof structure transported to Kimbell Art Museum project.

The second application in the Piano pavilion which incorporates Isokorb® connections are in the concrete at the rear of the building. Isokorb® is found in the parapet wall connected to the 9“ thick concrete roof, which is now covered by luscious grass.  Isokorb® provides a thermal break from the concrete roof connection to the parapet. The Isokorb® was installed and the concrete was poured by Capform of Carrollton, Texas.

Isokorb thermal breaks are installed in the rebar for the 9" concrete roof.
Isokorb thermal breaks are installed in the rebar for the 9″ concrete roof.

24 line between G and I big pic

View this stunning video by filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle, showcasing the construction of the concrete walls.

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The east curtain wall was designed in collaboration with FRONT as facade consultants.

Why did Piano pavilion use Isokorb thermal breaks?

For structural and thermal performance reasons, the Kimbell Art Expansion project included Isokorb® connections into the design. The connections allowed the structural loads to be met while also minimizing energy loss at steel and concrete penetrations to the building envelope.

The Piano pavilion is designed to be highly energy efficient, and will use only half of the amount of energy required for the operation of the Kahn building.

“Because only a third of the interior is above ground, the museum will see greatly reduced demands for heating and cooling,” says Renzo Piano. “In this way, it is the overall design, as well as the solar technology built into the roof system, that yields important energy savings. This is the way it should be: designing for energy savings is not an ‘add on,’ but, rather, the proper way to build.”

The Schӧck team is excited about the opening ceremonies on the 27th of November. Look for an update and new images in December.


The executive architect is Kendall/Heaton Associates, Inc., of Houston; the construction manager is the Beck Group of Dallas/Fort Worth. The mechanical engineers are Arup Consulting Engineers, London and Summit Consultants, Fort Worth. The project is being managed by Paratus Group, project managers, of New York City.
Kimbell Art Museum hours: Tuesday–Thursday and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Fridays, noon–8 p.m.; Sundays, noon–5 p.m.; closed Mondays. For general information, call 817-332-8451. Website: www.kimbellart.org. Address: 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107.


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