The Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum is a 165,000-square-foot addition to the museum that was the highlight of a six-year, multi-phased, capital improvement program, made possible through a donation from Henry Bloch. The Bloch building was designed by Steven Holl Architects and BNIM Architects, and was named Time Magazine’s Best New Building of the Year in 2008.
The Bloch building increased museum space by 70 percent and it currently houses the museum’s contemporary and African Art Collections. In addition to the new galleries, the Bloch addition includes classrooms, a cafe, and large entertaining space.
One of the most highly-visible features of the building is its channel glass. From the outside, the building changes appearance with the time and the season, its glass blocks reflecting sun and sky in day and radiating interior lighting at night. The glass system was specifically designed & developed for this building utilizing channel glass that is fabricated only once per year in Germany. The tempered, sandblasted finish of each panel is what gives the building its unique appearance that is unlike any other structure in the world.
The building serves to fuse architecture and landscape as it extends along the eastern edge of the campus.