Taubman Museum Of Art

by | 03. Aug 2012

Cultural | Project

photo: Timothy Hursley


Located on a prominent corner of Roanoke’s downtown, the Taubman Museum of Art creates a gateway to the city for visitors arriving from US I581.

As Roanoke’s most contemporary structure, the building is also intended as a metaphorical gateway to the future as Roanoke evolves from an industrial and manufacturing economy to a technology – driven economy.


photo: Timothy Hursley



photo: Timothy Hursley

The building’s forms and materials evoke the drama of the surrounding mountainous landscape of the Shenandoah Valley – the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Mountains – and the industrial era building culture of the early 20th century railroad boom when Roanoke came to prominence as a switchpoint city.

The finish on the undulating, stainless steel roof forms reflects the rich variety of color found in the sky and the seasonal landscape. Inspired by mountain streams, translucent glass surfaces emerge from the building’s mass to create canopies of softly diffused light over the public spaces and gallery level.


photo: Timothy Hursley

As it rises to support the stainless steel roof, a layered pattern of angular exterior walls is surfaced in shingled patinated zinc to give an earthen and aged quality to the facade.


photo: Timothy Hursley



photo: Timothy Hursley


The building occupies three levels with all functions organized around a central atrium space. The glass atrium allows the lobby to be filled with natural light during the day.


Photo: Timothy Hursley

At night, the translucent glass roof surfaces are illuminated, allowing the volume to glow like a beacon and draw visitors and the community to the museum’s activities.

“Hokie” stone, native to western Virginia, is used in the lobby, store and theatre foyer, adding a familiar, natural texture and color to the interior. The variations of the forms and textures emphasize the striations, clefts and eroded rock surfaces found in the region’s famous caverns, cliffs and river gorges.

Public spaces, including lobby, café, store, auditorium, theater, and education areas, are located on the ground level, along with support areas associated with the loading dock and art receiving.


Photo: Timothy Hursley

Permanent collection galleries, temporary exhibition galleries, and art storage are located on the second level.

Illuminated glass treads lead the visitor up the grand staircase to the gallery level. At the landing, a luminous ceiling of cascading, back lit, translucent polycarbonate panels leads the visitor through the central gallery hall to the permanent collection galleries. In the contemporary and American galleries, where it is conducive to the viewing of art, the luminous ceiling extends into the space to diffuse the daylight from clerestory windows and skylights overhead.


Photo: © Randall Stout Architects, Inc.



Photo: Timothy Hursley



Photo: Timothy Hursley



photo: Timothy Hursley



Photo: Timothy Hursley

The third, and uppermost, floor holds the boardroom, director’s suite, and staff offices. The third floor administration level receives a significant amount of natural light as the undulating roof forms allow multiple opportunities to provide clerestory windows for the office spaces.

The building contains advanced technology for distance learning to serve the entire region of western Virginia. All gallery and education spaces are wired to link to broadband networks across the state to enhance K-12 and higher education and provide greater access to the visual arts.

The building also features many sustainable design components including day lighting, radiant heating and cooling, thermal conserving envelope, and computerized building management systems.

After decades of collecting and presenting important art to the public, we now have a building whose design is commensurate with our program. The Taubman Museum of Art will serve as a catalyst for dialogue and creativity, a place for community interaction, a home for artists and craftspeople of the area, and, above all, a platform for lifelong learning.
/Georganne Bingham, Executive director of the Taubman Museum of Art

Drawing courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.Site Plan


Sketch courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.



Model photo courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.


Rendering photo courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.Axonometric


Drawing courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.Ground Floor Plan


Sketch courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.Second Floor Plan


Model photo courtesy Randall Stout Architects, Inc.Third Floor Plan



CITY Roanoke, Virginia
ARCHITECT Randall Stout Architects