Glenstone Museum Adds New Building Dedicated to Only New Work by Richard Serra


Glenstone Museum in Potomac opened a new one Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners building to house the sculpture Four rounds: equal weight, unequal size2017, by Richard Serra† Designed in collaboration with the artist, the 4,000 square foot specific structure is the first new construction on the museum site since the opening of the pavilions in 2018.

The new building marks an addition to the overall collection of clean and minimal pavilions in Maryland and all realized by Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Glenstone Museum Adds New Building Dedicated to Only New Work by Richard Serra


On June 23, 2022, Glenstone Museum introduced the new structure, the Richard Serra installation and a connecting promenade. Visitors to the museum approach the concrete volume via a forest path along the eastern side of Glenstone’s property. A gently curving path extending from the bridge over the Greenbriar Stream eventually allows visitors to enter the building through a single, centered doorway. The boardwalk, structure and artwork enhance the visitor experience in Glenstone and provide opportunities to interact with art and architecture, as well as the museum’s verdant landscape environment.

With the new additions, Glenstone continues to celebrate Richard Serra’s work with some of his works currently on display at the museum. These works include Sylvester (2001) and Contour 290 (2004).

Glenstone Museum Adds New Building Dedicated to Only New Work by Richard Serra

‘Richard Serra’s work has been a cornerstone in the collection since the museum’s inception’ said Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder. β€œHe helped build Glenstone’s reputation as a destination for monumental site-specific artworks. The addition of Four Rounds to our outdoor program is made all the more special by the collaborative process between Richard and our architect, Tom Phifer. The building they designed is more than a container for the sculpture; it’s an integral part of the experience. We look forward to sharing the beauty of this extraordinary achievement with our visitors.”

One of the most influential artists of his generation, Richard Serra (American, 1938), dedicates his decades-long sculpture practice to the dynamics between form, space and material. Composed of four cylindrical shapes forged from steel, each weighing 82 tons, Four rounds: equal weight, unequal size by Richard Serra is one monumental sculpture. The surface of each mold has a rich, textured patina imprinted by the intense pressure of the forging process.

Glenstone Museum Adds New Building Dedicated to Only New Work by Richard Serra

The work is housed in an unadorned structure made of cast-in-place concrete that visitors will approach along a winding promenade. The proportions of the inner building are attuned to the scale and placement of the image. A simple concrete roof is supported by large beams, which serve as walls for the openings that illuminate the space. White glass skylights provide diffused daylight. Variations in light and shade are dictated by nature, providing visitors with an instant experience that changes with the season.

“It is a privilege to work with Glenstone again, especially because of the exceptional opportunity to interact with Richard Serra” said Thomas Phifer. Together we were able to consider every detail of how the volume of the space interacts with the masses within, how the different qualities of light filtering down animates the sculpture’s surfaces, how the texture of the building’s concrete enters into a dialogue with Serra’s steel. I hope the visitors to Glenstone feel as pleased as I do when they encounter this combination of place and object that is so seemingly simple and elemental in its wholeness, yet completely imbued with thought.”

project info:

Glenstone Principles: Emily Wei Rales, Director and Co-Founder; Mitchell P. Rales, Co-Founder
construction architect: Thomas Phifer and Partners
landscape architect: PWP Landscaping
groundbreaking: February 22, 2021
public opening: June 23, 2022
structural engineer: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP
geotechnical engineering: Schnabel Engineering DCMEP
engineers: Mueller Associates
lighting / daylighting: Arup
civil engineer: Debt
irrigation: Sweeney Associates

Juliana Neira i design tree

June 30, 2022

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