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Architecture & Design

Museum Tower Designer Insists Nasher Needs to Yield in Reflectivity Dispute

He puts the onus purely on the museum.
Museum Tower remains shiny.
Museum Tower remains shiny.

In a piece earlier this month for the Architect’s Newspaper, Scott Johnson of Fain Johnson, the principal designer of Museum Tower, says the only possible solution to the Nasher Sculpture Center’s demands to be free of the light reflected upon its building and garden lies in the proposed alterations to its roof — changes which the museum has refused to make:

In the meantime, the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund, after exhaustive technical studies, has recommended recalibrating the clerestory cells in the ceiling without touching any other elements of the Nasher’s architecture. It is my understanding that they will turn their engineering research over to the Nasher design team to vet, design, and install the recalibration, and they will pay for it. The Nasher, I understand, has declined this solution, however, the original charge to “eliminate all reflection and do it all on Museum Tower,” given what we know, seems frankly unachievable.

I remain hopeful that new participants in the process will look beyond entrenched positions and a consensual and effective solution will be agreed upon. Dallas is a beautiful city and I hope that a resolution for this difficult issue between Museum Tower and the Nasher can be found soon.

Johnson also complained about how few reporters have bothered to talk to him in writing about the dispute:

I have found it surprising that so much has been said and written without inquiring of the building designer. While, on the one hand, I don’t relish entering a conversation in which sides have long been drawn, a dominant narrative seems fixed, facts are frequently misstated, and public relations blunders have clouded genuine conversation, on the other hand, I have a high regard for the importance of architectural criticism in the mainstream media. I consider it a vital contribution to civic life as I do this fervent, if difficult, conversation among Dallasites.

When Tim wrote his feature when the brouhaha first came to light, neither Johnson nor the local architecture firm he partnered with returned phone calls or emails.

(H/T Candy’s Dirt)

UPDATE, Dec. 17: James Flores of PR firm Allison Partners, which represents the Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund, gave me a call to reiterate what has been mentioned in the comments, that Johnson’s article in the Architect’s Newspaper is a rerun of something he penned last year. Flores was concerned that it “could inflame the situation.”

He tells me that the Pension Fund is now looking at multiple other options, including “what we can do on Museum Tower to mitigate the problem.” He declined to be any more specific than that or to guess at when a new solution might be settled upon.