The Nelson-Atkins was a competition that we participated in in 1999, and it was for the major addition to the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City which is basically the Metropolitan museum of the mid-west; has an enormously important collection, spanning great Asian works and contemporary works and, it's really a very important museum. And so, this addition, which is doubling the gallery size, was quite a prestigious thing to be participating in. International competition; contenders included Tadao Ando and Portzamparc and others, so it was a great challenge just to participate in the competition.
In the rules of the competition were that you were to add on to the north of a 1937 neoclassical building, quite a predominant building, two hundred and forty thousand square feet and all the competitors were required to add; the rules were you were to add on to the north of this building, and bring in parking, a new entrance and new gallery spaces. And we went to the site, and I studied everything and I decided to break the rules; I decided that that wasn't the right way to add on to this building; in fact, I thought you should leave all the existing stone elevations intact, and not add against any one of the facades. Instead, to make a new building fused with the landscape, and cascade down the sculpture garden and make a real deep connection between exterior landscape and interior, and the original building.
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