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Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:09:50 -0500
2018-05-22 Print

McCarthy Completes Phase I of Expansion Project for Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. completed phase I of the expansion project for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas’ oldest museum. The first phase of the project includes a new 80,000 square-foot Glassell School of Art. Project presented challenging design, materials and construction methods


McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. completed phase I of the expansion project for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas’ oldest museum. The first phase of the project includes a new 80,000 square-foot Glassell School of Art. McCarthy is the construction manager at-risk and has worked with the design team, Steven Holl Architects, from the beginning of the project to ensure the vision for the school came to life. McCarthy utilized innovative technologies to construct models and plan for the unique project challenges, features and materials.

“McCarthy is pleased to be the general contractor on such an architecturally unique and important project such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston that will offer a lasting legacy to the city,” said McCarthy Houston Division President, Jim Stevenson. “We collaborated with the entire project team to ensure the challenges posed by such unique designs were carefully and strategically considered and approached.”

The Glassell School of Art is now double in size and will serve more than 7,000 students each year. The school’s addition includes a Studio School for adults, a Junior School with classes for students ages three-to-18, and the distinguished Core Residency Program for post-graduate artists and critics. The school links to two existing gallery buildings and a sculpture garden as part of a redevelopment of the 14-acre, Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus.

The “puzzle” design of the new Glassell School of Art made the building as much a piece of art as the art displayed within the museum. The hybrid material structure provided for a unique construction challenge. The building features 177 precast panels, with no two panels the same shape, and 139 massive glass windows, each with a unique size and trapezoidal shape – either straight or at a 10-degree slant in-or-out.

“It is uncommon to put these elements together, and no one wanted to do it,” said Brian Luney, project director for McCarthy, “so McCarthy self-performed the cast-in-place concrete work.”

Further, McCarthy incorporated advanced technology and building methods including LEAN principles, laser scanning and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to maintain quality on the job site and save time and money. BIM helped create virtual reality models allowing the Museum to see the building before construction and assist in decision making. Additionally, teams used 3D MEP coordination to allow for better placement of devices from an architectural standpoint, ultimately helping the client track placement of all building elements for future repairs and renovations.

McCarthy has a long-standing history of building complex, architecturally significant projects in the entertainment and arts industry. In addition to the MFAH, McCarthy’s Texas portfolio of entertainment and institutional projects includes the award-winning AT&T Performing Arts Center Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, the Dallas City Performance Hall and the Kinder High School for Visual and Performing Arts in Houston, among others.

About McCarthy
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 20th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2017). With approximately 1,700 salaried employees and offices in Dallas, Houston; St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Portage, Ind.; Kansas City, Kan.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Albuquerque; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.

Contact Info
Elizabeth LaMonte
4144 N Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75204

Phone: 9729317576