Blanton Museum of Art


Austin, Texas


120,000 sq. ft.

Design Architect

Kallman McKinnell & Wood

Architect of Record

Booziotis & Company

The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest university art museums in the U.S. The 120,000 square-foot gallery houses a permanent collection of 18,000 pieces. Completed in two phases in the early 2000s, the $55 million replacement facility features a grand scale building clad in native shell limestone with granite accents and red tile, pitched roof.

Natural light serves an important design element which challenged Datum's engineers to innovate a complex system of non-parallel, alternating sawtooth steel trusses that allow light into the trapezoidal atrium.  Painstaking coordination was required to marry the structure with the complex system of reflectors that diffuse light into the galleries.

A 25-foot-deep basement under the entire footprint houses the extensive mechanical systems.  A structural grid of 25 feet was selected for economy and regularity after an exhaustive framing selection process that investigated numerous systems with spans up to 80 feet.  Cast-in-place columns and wide pan joists frame the structure, which has 22-foot-tall stories.  The floors were designed for a live load of 250 psf to accommodate forklifts and heavy artwork which must be moved throughout the building.