The Henry W. and Marion H. Bloch Gallery of Art, an expansion to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, features five striking glass 'lenses' rising from the rolling terrain on the east side of the Museum. These lenses house gallery space which dot the landscape and allow diffuse light to enter the galleries below and respond to the undulating topography outside. The expansion is the first major addition to this cultural institution and Beaux-Arts style structure since it opened in 1933. The new addition contains galleries and public facilities including an entry lobby, an art library, a cafe and a sculpture court devoted to the works of Isamu Noguchi. About 55 percent more space is available for the Museum's permanent collection and space for special exhibits is doubled.
The expansion of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art fuses architecture with landscape to create an experiential architecture that unfolds through five “lenses” which connect beneath the terrain through a dramatic circulation space that merges with exhibit space and punches up into the landscape. The Bloch Building exists in complementary contrast to the 1933 Institution and is considered a “feather” to the original museum’s “stone.”