Dallas Museum of Art reveals competition finalists’ design concepts

Dma shortlist news
  • Finalists’ concept designs go on display at the DMA and in online gallery
  • Public invited to comment at the presentation or directly via email
  • Presentation showcases work by teams led by David Chipperfield Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Johnston Marklee, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, and Weiss/Manfredi

DALLAS, TX – July 11, 2023 – The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today revealed the finalists’ concept designs devised by renowned US and international architect teams in the competition to reimagine the DMA. The Museum’s brief to the six teams was to give its campus greater physical visibility and transparency, show visitors what is going on inside, and make the DMA more welcoming, and accessible to all.

The concept designs are now available to view in a free presentation at the DMA and in an online gallery on the competition website hosted by international competition organizers, Malcolm Reading Consultants.

The DMA’s Architect Selection Committee will meet in July to interview the finalists and make a recommendation to the Dallas Museum of Art Board of Trustees; a winner announcement is expected in August. The design will then be developed in close partnership with the Museum and its stakeholders.

The Museum’s project focuses on strengthening the DMA’s work with its communities, creating stronger civic connections, transforming the welcome for visitors with new facilities, and expanding education and gallery space to accommodate important collections – all underpinned by a thorough modernization. The teams’ summaries of their concept designs can be found below in Notes to Editors.

The DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director, Dr. Agustín Arteaga, said:

‘We are delighted to share the competition concepts: six fascinating visions from some of the world’s most accomplished design teams showing how the DMA might be transformed.
‘We very much look forward to hearing from our communities and welcome comments on the ideas and themes in these proposals. Please visit the presentation in-person or via the online gallery where there will be opportunity to provide feedback that will help shape the future of the DMA.
‘Each team has thought deeply about the Museum’s civic presence, about an energized circulation. Where to put new galleries and how to weave in gardens and landscape? What elements should stay, what should go? What are views that will draw audiences? How do we get physically, intellectually, spiritually closer to art?
‘We’re captivated by six unique propositions with different priorities and aesthetics. The DMA’s future sparkles with possibilities – we have the momentum now to create a reinvented DMA that will significantly enhance Dallas.’

Architect Selection Committee Co-Chairs, Jennifer Eagle and Lucilo Peña, said:

‘These initial designs from some of the world’s most in-demand creative minds help us visualize how the DMA could reinvent itself, and they’ve thrilled us.
‘Yet among the six there is only one winner… So we’re aware we are approaching a momentous decision in the lifetime of this Museum.
‘What are we, the deciding committee, looking for? Well, a brilliant analysis of the complex program, for energy and inspiration, for a deep connection to our communities and Larrabee Barnes’ original intent.
‘We congratulate the competitors for the intense work they’ve produced in answer to the Museum’s program. We’re hugely looking forward to interviewing the teams.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘These are sophisticated concepts conceived in a little over nine weeks, elegantly presented and richly annotated.
‘The competition has inspired a creative flowering that is underpinned by contemporary commitments to sustainability, social equity, and the use of public space. In the decades since the Museum was originally designed these themes have become paramount.
‘They set the stage for an identity reshaped, for reinforcing and realigning the Museum’s important role as the anchor of the Arts District and restructuring its connections to an endlessly changing Downtown.’

The concept designs will be on display on Mezzanine Level 2 (M2) at the DMA. The public are invited to comment either at the exhibition or by email to [email protected].

For further details of opening hours and access visit

Project Background

The Dallas Museum of Art is focused on better serving the diverse city of Dallas and being a dynamic connector where people of all cultures feel welcomed and embraced. Stronger civic connections will reaffirm the DMA as the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and connect it to surrounding neighborhoods.

Additional flexible gallery space will accommodate a collection that is expanding exponentially. Currently, many masterworks remain in storage, unseen by the public due to lack of space.

The program also requires a reorganization of internal space, circulation, and entrances, as well as a comprehensive modernization framed within a thoughtful sustainability strategy.

The first stage of the competition, which launched in February 2023, attracted 154 team submissions from around the world, and resulted in the selection of six finalist teams led by:

  • David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA)
  • Johnston Marklee (Los Angeles, USA)
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles, USA)
  • Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Madrid, Spain)
  • Weiss/Manfredi (New York, USA)

The finalists were selected by the DMA’s Architect Selection Committee (full details below) who assessed the submissions using the stage one criteria published in the competition Search Statement.

Opened in 1984, the original campus by Edward Larrabee Barnes was surrounded by empty lots and warehouses. Over the nearly four decades since its opening, the neighborhood around the DMA has grown and evolved, including the expansion of the Arts District, the addition of Klyde Warren Park to the north, and the construction of new residences, restaurants, and offices.

Barnes’ austere Modernist design in Indiana limestone forefronted elegance and calm dignity. Today, the DMA needs to re-present and enliven its spaces to relate to a more open and inclusive society with changing visitor expectations.

The DMA is working with competition organizers, Malcolm Reading Consultants; to follow the competition, please visit the website at:

Notes to Editors

About the Dallas Museum of Art

Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. With a free general admission policy and community outreach efforts, the DMA is distinguished by its commitment to research, innovation and public engagement. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses 26,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the nation’s largest arts district, the Museum acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary events and dramatic performances. The DMA is an Open Access institution, allowing all works believed to be in the public domain to be freely available for downloading, sharing, repurposing and remixing without restriction.

For more information, visit

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture.

About the concept designs (as supplied by the teams):

David Chipperfield Architects (DCA)

The team is supported by HarrisonKornberg Architects (Local Architect); James Corner Field Operations (Landscape Architect); Pentagram (Exhibition Design); Thornton Tomasetti (Structural Engineer); Arup (Services and Lighting); and Atelier Ten (Sustainability).

Our design concept originates from a profound sense of respect for the existing DMA campus and a desire to deepen its engagement with the energetic qualities of its immediate urban surroundings. An interpretation of the Museum’s most successful qualities has formed the basis of our approach to reimagining a new DMA that is both culturally and socially responsive, and ecologically responsible.

A bold revitalization of the Museum’s external public spaces, from the DMA’s doorstep to its rooftop, creates a stepped landscape that invites visitors to explore and rest, and to encounter artworks, performances, and public events. Inside the Museum, our interventions dramatically transform the DMA’s underwhelming central circulation spaces to create a dynamic and flexible curatorial Street, which is conceived as a seamless continuation of Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Arts District, and Downtown.

Inside and out, the new DMA is transformed into a vital and accessible topography for the city that expresses and reinforces its cultural, civic, and community value for the people of Dallas.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)

The team is supported by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. (Landscape Architect); Arup (MEP, Sustainability, and Daylighting Engineer); LERA Consulting Structural Engineers (Structural Engineer); New Affiliates (Exhibition Design); and GFF (Local Architect).

Edward Larrabee Barnes’s 1984 DMA reflects the values of its time – aloof and sequestered from the everyday lives of Dallas citizens. The new expansion will embrace the public. It will allow the DMA to show its growing collection in new ways, reaching across diverse audiences. It will engage the open sites to the north and south to create two new front doors that bookend the Museum, each visually porous and bustling with activity.

Facing Klyde Warren Park, a new contemporary gallery will cap a civic hub where the lobby, lecture hall, theater, education space, store, and cafe converge. This new face of the DMA will be fully visible from the park and the approach up Woodall Rodgers. To the south, a new restaurant and event pavilion will suspend an operable roof that will shade and provide infrastructural support for open-air public programming, while connecting with the Arts District at large.

Johnston Marklee

The team is supported by Christ & Gantenbein (Museum Specialists); MOS Architects (Public Realm); Sam Jacob Studio (Exhibition Design); Hargreaves Jones (Landscape Architect); Buro Happold (MEP and Sustainability Engineer); Walter P. Moore with Martinez Moore Engineers (Structural Engineer); and Kendall/Heaton Associates (Local Architect).

Our vision for the DMA is of a museum in a garden. A collection of pavilions and courtyards both existing and new, linked by a lively internal street. A place that welcomes and engages its visitors: where art connects with nature, and culture connects with the city.

A museum that is made up of collectives and collections, whose architecture forges connections and dialogues among objects, spaces, and people, between city and museum, between art and life, between old and new.

The new pavilions provide contemporary gallery and event spaces in volumes referring back to the DNA of the DMA. Their vaulted profiles project the Museum’s image of the Museum outwards, articulating the welcoming porosity between city, street, museum circulation, galleries, and gardens. Their materiality articulates a contrasting sensibility: ethereal and light, whose translucency reveals the Museum’s workings to the city beyond.

Michael Maltzan Architecture

The team is supported by Studio Zewde (Landscape Architect); Guy Nordenson and Associates (Structural Design Engineer); Buro Happold (MEP Engineer); Atelier Ten (Sustainability); and JSA/MIXdesign (Exhibition Design and Accessibility).

We believe that the architecture and landscape of the reimagined DMA can weave together the history and the future of both the Museum and Dallas. At the core of our architectural response, we seek to preserve the philosophical aspirations of the original Edward Larrabee Barnes design, modifying it to support the DMA’s evolving requirements.

Its stepped gallery sequence is woven together with a new “superfloor” of gallery and program spaces that float above the treetops of the Arts District. Elevating the galleries enables the transformation of North Harwood Street into a “cultural carpet”, an animated civic landscape that bridges Klyde Warren Park and Downtown. We transform the original inward-looking concourse into a new transparent façade that reveals the vibrant activity of the DMA. Collectively, these changes create a new image of the DMA, one that is open, forward-looking, and reflective of the Museum’s role in the coming century.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos

The team is supported by Atelier Culbert (Exhibition Design); SWA Group (Landscape Architect); Arup (MEP, Lighting, and Sustainability Engineer); Bollinger+Grohmann (Structural and Facade Engineer); and PGAL (Local Architect).

Art inspires the beginning of the architectural project to reimagine the DMA. Claude Monet’s The Water Lily Pond (1903) poetically suggests the reversal of reality in the reflection of water; the lightness of air and clouds versus rootedness in earth and vegetation.

Our proposal acknowledges the presence of the original building and its pivotal role in the development of the Dallas Arts District while proposing significant spatial architectural transformations respectful of its recent history.

The clear architectural scheme by Edward Larrabee Barnes, once conceived as an opaque and compact building, has been overtaken after four decades by the development and implementation of new settings in the Arts District. We propose an open, welcoming, accessible, and inclusive museum, improving and adding new spaces for contemporary art collections.

The reimagined DMA will be a reflection of the original building, transforming the relationship between art, landscape, and community into a balance of memory and innovation.


The team is supported by Hood Design Studio (Landscape Architect); WeShouldDoItAll (Exhibition Design); DVDL (Cultural Strategists); Thornton Tomasetti (Structural Engineer); Jaros, Baum & Bolles (MEP/FP Engineer); and Atelier Ten (Sustainability).

The Dallas Museum of Art is an enduring cultural wonder within the increasingly vibrant Dallas Arts District. We admire the cadence of architecture and landscape central to Edward Larrabee Barnes’s and Dan Kiley’s initial vision, yet the existing building’s opacity and unintuitive orientation conceal the vibrancy of this cultural campus. Our design activates and intensifies reciprocities – architecture and landscape, building and garden, art and community – to construct a new tapestry for the arts.

Through strategic subtraction and luminous additions, our design reinvigorates this elegant but fortified structure to signal a new transparency, both literal and philosophical, that welcomes the entire community. New galleries and gathering spaces, with generous ceilings and filtered natural light, and gardens to the north and south, anchor the urban edges. The visitor sequence culminates in a cantilevered gallery and roof garden overlooking Klyde Warren Park, bringing into focus the DMA’s role as an inspiring and welcoming catalyst to the cultural life of the city.

About the Architect Selection Committee

  • Jennifer Eagle, Architect Selection Committee Co-Chair
  • Lucilo Peña, Architect Selection Committee Co-Chair; Former Trustee; President of Development, Billingsley Company
  • Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art
  • Zaida Basora, FAIA; Executive Director, The American Institute of Architects – Dallas
  • Mary McDermott Cook, Trustee
  • Jeff Ellerman, Chairman of the Board of the Trustees; Vice Chairman CBRE
  • Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Former Trustee
  • Darren L. James, FAIA; NOMA; President, KAI Enterprises
  • Howard Rachofsky, Former Trustee
  • Catherine Marcus Rose, Trustee and Former President of the Board of Trustees
  • Deedie Rose, Trustee
  • Jennifer Scripps, President and CEO Downtown Dallas, Inc.
  • Gowri Sharma, President of the Board of Trustees
  • Gayle Stoffel, Trustee

About Malcolm Reading Consultants

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic consultancy that helps clients to imagine and define contemporary environments, both built and natural. MRC is the leading specialist in devising and managing design competitions internationally. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration.

MRC has run over 200 design competitions in settings including Antarctica and Australia; London and Washington, D.C.; Oxford and Cambridge; and Houston and Riyadh, for extraordinary and emblematic projects representing over $20 billion of construction value. Uniquely, our team provides a total service encompassing the project vision; search; organization; administration; and assessment.

Recent work includes competitive selection for the National Gallery (London); Illuminated River Foundation (London); Science Island (Lithuania); Houston Endowment (USA); New College (Oxford); Butrint National Park (Albania); and the Royal College of Art (London).