BNIM’s renovation for Missouri’s Springfield Art Museum to start next year

Ozark Modern

BNIM’s renovation for Missouri’s Springfield Art Museum to start next year

BNIM is working on a plan that would modernize the Springfield Art Museum (Courtesy BNIM)

In Missouri, the Springfield Art Museum is slated for a major renovation and expansion by BNIM. The Kansas City office is working on a design scheme that sets out to modernize the existing 51,000-square-foot building in the Ozarks.

BNIM’s new design posits a relatively horizontal building that in its materiality, composition, and sensitivity to nature recalls Thomas Phifer’s Glenstone Museum. The low-lying structure made of glass, wood, and corrugated white panels will sit comfortably on the nearby Fassnight Creek. The overall goal is to create a unified campus with artwork placed around the park-like grounds and an upgraded amphitheater for hosting programs. Given its proximity to the creek, special attention will also be paid to flood mitigation.

In plan, the forthcoming museum by BNIM is rectangular and centered by a lush courtyard. Many of the museum’s artworks will be visible from the street thanks to the facade’s translucency. Its tall rooms will enable grand murals, paintings, and sculptures to abound.

exterior rendering showing bridge over creek
The new design is meant to enhance a nearby creek. (Courtesy BNIM)

The Springfield Museum of Art is sited in the city of Springfield, Missouri’s Phelps Grove neighborhood. It was finished in 1958 by George Kessler and Hare & Hare, and sits atop a verdant park. In 1979, a 400-seat auditorium was added to it and then in 1994, the Jeannette L. Musgrave Wing was finished, greatly expanding the museum’s exhibition space.

In 2017, museum officials issued an RFQ for additional renovations. BNIM rolled out its 100-year master plan for the institution shortly after.

BNIM’s master plan ultimately called for altering the museum’s Education Wing from 1958, implementing architectural solutions to improve visitor and staff experience, and better connecting the museum with its surrounding community vis-a-vis programming and amenities.

Springfield Art Museum today (Google Earth)

BNIM’s new design responds to the 2018 master plan. Major improvements will take place to create a welcoming entry to the museum’s west and a campus integrated with landscaping. Visitors will soon pour into a new lobby and light-filled galleries from a new catwalk atop Fassnight Creek. The galleries are designed to accommodate multiple art experiences.

The effort will simultaneously yield enhanced back-of-house spaces for curators, BNIM said. These office spaces and study rooms will help staff facilitate collaborations with other museums. All in all, the project is part of Springfield Art Museum’s goal of being a steward of the land, a vital cultural hub, and fostering community engagement.

interior view of museum with silver tree in center
The interiors are designed to accommodate multiple types of art, from sculptures, paintings, digital art, and more. (Courtesy BNIM)
artwork on gallery walls
New technology and lighting will upgrade galleries. (Courtesy BNIM)

For construction purposes, Springfield Museum of Art will close its doors to the public in January 2025.

It will reopen three years later in 2028, when the project is slated for completion.