Student wins contest reimagining iconic museum trimmed in wood

Jaechang Ko

Jaechang Ko

Texas A&M Master of Architecture student Jaechang Ko reimagined Fort Worth’s iconic Kimbell Art Museum — a structure replete with concrete and marble — in Eastern White Pine to capture first place honors in a design competition sponsored by the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association.

Ko’s proposal, said judges in the 2016 Sustainable Versatility Design Competition, cast the Louis Khan-designed museum’s exhibits in a “new light.”

Contest participants were challenged to envision an iconic structure trimmed in white pine, a wood that features a uniform texture, holds finishes well, and is produced with low energy consumption and no waste.

Ko expressed innovative, creative, and beautiful use of Eastern White Pine wood in his concept, said contest jury member Scott Simons, a member of the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows and professional designer.

In the museum, illumination from skylights bounces from concrete surfaces to the museum’s exhibit areas. “It’s a beautiful light,” said Simons.

In Ko’s concept, the light bounces off interior wooden trusses, reflecting a rich, warm, golden color, said Simons. “If you were to build the structure in wood, instead of concrete, you’d get a beautiful, soft light for artwork,” he said.

Ko also used white pine on the museum’s floor and to replace the marble exterior panels.

Advised by Ahmed Ali, assistant professor of architecture, Ko earned $1,000 and a unique wooden trophy.

In 2015, environmental design students Rebeca Diaz and Jack Searcy won first and second place, respectively, in the same contest.

posted May 20, 2016