Dallas Museum of Art selects Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos and SWA team as winners of international design competition

Advancing an ecologically and socially vibrant future for Dallas’ preeminent cultural institution

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August 3, 2023

Today, the Dallas Museum of Art announced the selection of a Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (NSA)-led team, including SWA as landscape architect, as winners of an international design competition to reimagine the Museum’s future. The winning team also includes Atelier Culbert, Arup, Bollinger+Grohmann, and PGAL.

Honoring the original 1984 design by Edward Larrabee Barnes and Dan Kiley, our team’s proposal includes a new floating contemporary art gallery on the roof, rebalanced north and south façades, and a beautiful, welcoming landscape scheme strengthening the Museum’s connection to Dallas’ Downtown and Uptown districts. Landscape-based solutions are fundamental to addressing many of the Museum’s long-term goals, including building vibrant community spaces, increasing museum visibility, presenting artwork in new and surprising ways, and communicating its core values of equity and environmental responsibility.

“We’re deeply honored by the Board and Selection Committee’s decision, and are thrilled to continue our collaboration with NSA and team to bring this concept to life,” said Chuck McDaniel, Managing Principal of SWA’s Dallas office. “As the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex grows, we hope this vision can bring DMA’s unparalleled collection to an even broader audience and embody a more open, sustainable, and vibrant future for an already beloved cultural institution.”

Solving for multiple issues—clarified circulation, improved sustainability, and gallery expansion—the proposal bridges the divide between indoor and outdoor spaces through a series of green roofs, courtyards, and streetscapes, as well as an open-air amphitheater. Improved access to the sculpture garden encourages visitors to explore an asset few museum-goers have appreciated in the past while preserving its spirit of seclusion. Altogether, the design reflects Barnes and Kiley’s spatial hierarchy while updating it with precise, elegant interventions that embrace nature and open up the ground level to engage with the street.

“The new and reinvented DMA promises to be a confident exemplar of sustainability and urbanism but also to be a place that’s just fun to be in,” said Architect Selection Committee Co-Chairs Jennifer Eagle and Lucilo Peña. “The Committee found the winning team a delight to interact with during the competition workshops and visits—they listened carefully, questioned us, and continually reappraised their approach.”

The competition, which launched in February 2023, attracted 154 submissions from around the world, with the NSA team winning from a shortlist of six finalists. The Museum is now convening a new Master Facilities Plan Task Force to take the project forward in collaboration with the team, the DMA Board of Trustees, and the community at large.