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Visitor and Education Center

Leslie Elkins Architecture

Shared By

MonicaScinto, Hanley Wood

Project Name

Visitor and Education Center


2365 rice boulevard no 204

Project Status


Year Completed



18,000 sq. feet


The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


  • General Contractor: W. S. Bellows Construction Corporation
  • Structural Engineer: Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc
  • : Jacobs Engineering
  • Civil Engineer: Water P. Moore & Associates

Certifications and Designations


LEED Silver

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Project Description

This project was conceived as the visitor and education center for an already established house museum and garden. Previously, the administrative staff and educational programs were housed in the historic residence and the house was to be restored to its original interiors. The visitor and education center serves to introduce the visitors to the historic site before they walk/drive down to a bridge over the bayou, letting them experience the environment which informed the original house and gardens.
The new building welcomes visitors as they enter the lobby and an orientation area. The entire first level is devoted to the public. Two meeting rooms open onto exterior terraces which can be used as extensions of the classrooms. There is a docent lounge for the volunteers who take visitor groups through the historic house and gardens and an opportunity to shop in a gift store.
The second level houses the administrative staff and the Library/Study Center. A terrace runs the length of the building, allowing access from both the Library/Study Center and the offices. The office area receives natural light from large windows on the east and north. The orientation therefore does not contribute additional heat gain. The terrace on the east side of the building allows for early morning light, while the shade structure protects from the mid day sun. The west facade is almost windowless, as prescribed for the library stacks, mechanical rooms, and restrooms with some smaller windows for offices.

The building received 'Silver' level LEED certification.
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