Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center at Bayou Bend, MFAH
Location & Year: Houston, TX - 2011
Size: 17,600 SF Bayou Bend’s historic house and gardens sit on heavily wooded 14 acres along Houston’s iconic Buffalo Bayou and include eight formal gardens noted for rare flowers and seasonal plantings, now a museum affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. It is also the state’s only formal organic public garden. A two-acre site had been acquired in the 1970s to house a future visitor center. It is adjacent to a major thoroughfare, offering greater exposure for what had been one of Houston’s best known secrets. The purpose of the Visitor and Education Center is to support the historic house and gardens by orienting a visitor to the environs and historic significance. It provides classrooms, a multipurpose room, administrative offices, and a study center and library for scholars, as well as the administrative offices has proven to be a successful addition to the Bayou Bend campus by providing access and meeting spaces for many community organizations.
The new structure uses the same principle of design: practicality, sensitivity, to the landscape, and bringing the outside in by using porches along the first level classrooms and the second level library, meeting room and other materials. LEED Silver 2011 Design Awards, AIA Houston

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