Award Winning Architects Join Tyler Museum Of Art Building Project

The campaign to build a new facility for the Tyler Museum of Art is "on the fast track," with award-winning Tyler firm Fitzpatrick.Butler Architects joining the team as Associate Architect for the project, TMA Director Kimberley Bush Tomio announced.

Mike Butler, AIA, principal and co-founder of Fitzpatrick.Butler, will be the local lead for the project, working closely with wHY Architecture, the Los Angeles firm recently hired by the TMA Board of Trustees as principal design architect for the new building.

Fitzpatrick.Butler's duties will include site infrastructure development; coordinating with local consultants and serving as liaison to governing agencies at the city, county and state levels; site and zoning analysis; assisting in the selection of contractors for the facility's construction; and partnering with wHY Architecture on construction administration once the building process begins.

"With Mike and the Fitzpatrick.Butler team on board, all the elements are starting to come together," said Eleanor Cameron, chairman of the TMA Building Committee. "Mike will be the eyes and ears on the ground for wHY, working hand-in-hand with Yo Hakomori, Kulapat Yantrasast and their team all the way through the construction of our new building."

Fitzpatrick.Butler's 15-year history of distinctive projects spanning the East Texas area encompasses the design of numerous sites that now are regarded as landmarks - including Glass Recreation Center, the Brook Hill School, Tyler Junior College's Joann Medlock Murphy Tennis Center, and expanded facilities for The Salvation Army of Tyler and Tyler Civic Theatre Center. The firm also has been a regional leader in urban and master planning on projects such as the Green Acres Baptist Church expansion, First Baptist Church/South Campus, All Saints Episcopal School and Pine Cove Christian Camps. The company has received more than a dozen architectural design awards for building and interior design, renovation and historic restoration, including accolades from the Texas Historic Commission/Main Street Program for its work on the Discovery Science Place, Rick's on the Square and Balance Studio.

"With just a quick glance at the string of awards this firm has won and its astonishing track record of accomplishments on projects throughout East Texas, it should be obvious we have the right team in place to coordinate our efforts on the local front," TMA Board of Trustees president Steve Manley said. "Our new TMA facility is a historic opportunity for East Texas. It is essential we have someone on the architect team who can bring a focused, committed local perspective with a strong sense of community to this project. That is exactly what we have in Fitzpatrick.Butler."

Mike Butler, a 25-year veteran architect who holds a Masters in Architecture degree from Texas A&M University, said he and his colleagues are looking forward to the challenge of a project as complex and historically significant as the new TMA facility.

"The opportunity to work with an architect of wHY's caliber is exciting for our firm, and we are honored that the Museum wants us to be a part of building its new home," he said. "This project represents an enormous contribution to our community, and what is particularly exciting about it is that the design goals of the Museum will introduce an architectural element into our community that will attract a wide audience from outside the region."

Also an integral part of Fitzpatrick.Butler's role in shaping the new facility will be working to secure locally available materials and other resources, to ensure the building adheres to the process necessary to achieve certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System.

"The goal of making this a LEED certified project is forward thinking for our community," Butler added, "and a substantial part of our job will be providing knowledge and resources beneficial to making that certification a reality."

In September 2007, the TMA finalized the purchase of approximately 13 ½ acres of heavily wooded land, on the southeast corner of the intersection of University Boulevard and Lazy Creek Drive in Tyler, as the site of its expanded new facility. The Museum then invested several months in developing a program for the new building, selecting Mark G. Anderson Consultants (MGAC) as owners' representative on the project to assist the TMA in managing the complex undertaking.

"Museums represent one of the last public building types that demand architecture reaching beyond the typical," Butler said. "Museums should inspire thought and create a dialogue with visitors, and contribute to the fabric of a community by offering a view into our lives from a different perspective. East Texas will benefit immensely from this new facility, which will carry forward the TMA's mission and standard of excellence for many generations."

The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. The Museum's growing Permanent Collection focuses on early to contemporary Texas art, as well as works in decorative arts, Asian art, and prints and photographs of American masters.