Contemporary Austin

The ContemporAry Austin - Jones Center

Austin, TX
Completed 2017
23,800 sq ft

AN Best of Design Awards, Adaptive ReuseThe Architect's Newspaper

Formed from the merging of Arthouse and the Austin Museum of Art, The ContemporAry Austin is a 23,800 square foot museum in the heart of Austin at 7th and Congress. The building presents a new identity for the organization, while simultaneously preserving and adding to the building’s rich history of transformations. The most public aspect of the renovation comprises a perforated aluminum canopy that floats 23 feet above the roof deck, producing a interstitial social space that is both within the building and within the city. It provides shelter from the elements for the popular outdoor space, and frames the 7' high letters of artist Jim Hodges' installation "With Liberty and Justice for All (A Work in Progress)." The canopy supports a retractable weather curtain, monumentally scaled at over 5,600 square feet, yet ephemeral in its presence. The ground floor is reconfigured to add 2,000 square feet of gallery space and the mezzanine is augmented with offices and meeting rooms. Key to the renovations, though less visible by design, are a series of alterations that provide increased capacity for large scale works of art and exhibitions, including a high capacity scissor lift (which retracts into the floor when not in use), environmental control upgrades, and improvements to the building envelope. Great care is taken to preserve traces of the multiple operations performed on this 100-year-old building over time as it has served as a theatre, a department store, a local art center, and now a highly refined exhibition space for contemporary art from around the world.



Arts Center
Adaptive Reuse


Project Team:  Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis; Michael Schissel, Antonia Wai
Construction Manager: Zapalac/Reed Construction Company
MEP Engineer: Kent Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: MJ Structures
Lighting Designer: Lumen Architecture
Curtain Fabricator: Contract Workroom
Code Consultant: Austin Permit Service
Client Representative: Nelson Partners
Photography: Leonid Furmansky


Davis, Andrew. “The Contemporary Austin gets a striking new rooftop addition.” The Architect’s Newspaper. March 28, 2017. 
van Ryzin, Jeanne Claire. “Contemporary’s downtown museum gets new look, spaces.myStatesman. December 27, 2016.
Raney, Nicole. “Downtown Austin museum reveals vibrant new look. culturemap Austin. December 15, 2016.