Iconic Donald Judd Building Reopens in Marfa

The John Chamberlain Building at Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas has reopened after a 12-month-long restoration led by architects Schaum/Shieh.

Originally three separate warehouse structures built in 1940 and used for storing wool and mohair, the John Chamberlain Building was transformed architecturally by artist Donald Judd in 1983. It was the first permanent installation opened to the public by Judd in Marfa and is part of the wider Chinati Foundation – originally conceived to exhibit the work of Judd himself, alongside John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin.

The building spans over 23,000-square-feet and houses 24 large-scale sculptures by the artist, who is best known for creating his works from old cars – making it the largest public installation of his work in the world. In order to protect the works and architecture alike for decades to come, Houston-based practice Schaum/Shieh were brought on board to devise a program for the building’s preservation.

Their renovation has seen them replace metal roofing in three sections, reinforce roofing trusses, repair a perimeter adobe wall originally designed by Judd, reconstruct exterior gates, patch and repaint exterior stucco and interior plaster, replace planting and gravel, repair windows and pivot doors, and reconstruct concrete ramps in order to make the space ADA-compliant.

As well as restoring the building itself, the project has also included the conservation of Barge Marfa (1983), the biggest of Chamberlain’s foam sculptures, carved in situ by the artist.

“The restoration of the John Chamberlain Building is the first major project to be completed in Chinati’s long-term plan to steward its art, architecture, and land,” said the Chinati Foundation. “The project maintains Judd’s original designs by restoring the building’s pivot doors and adobe perimeter walls as well as by replanting the sotols in the courtyard.”

From architecture on the land to buildings at sea – Bjarke Ingels Group recently unveiled its designs for an ambitious floating city project off the coast of Busan, South Korea.

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