In late 2002, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth opened its new building designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Ando’s design is comprised of five long, flat-roofed pavilions situated on a reflecting pool. Built of planed concrete and forty-foot-high walls of glass, the architectural forms embody the pure, unadorned elements of a modern work of art.
The reflective surfaces of glass and water around the museum have inspired the designers’ identity and signage for the museum. The identity acknowledges the colloquial attenuation of the institution’s name by locals, while the signage displays an understated quality and sensitivity to materials commensurate with architecture.
The building’s beauty required signage that was simple, clean, and unobtrusive. Monumental landmark signs at the museum entrance echo the mammoth concrete forms of the building; typography is cast directly into the concrete, a suggestion of the pool. Major donor identification signage at galleries and pavilions is made of stainless steel with a shot-peen finish, set into the floor, and placed alongside a sandblasted reflection. Gallery wall signs are subtle and hushed, while signs at the museum café create a more graphic illusion of depth through the use of Plexiglas and reflective backing.
Michael Bierut (Principal in Charge), Tracey Cameron
Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (project architects)