The Kimbell Art Museum is putting the “park” into parking.
The Kimbell Art Foundation announced Tuesday that it’s launching major reconstruction of the free Darnell Street parking lot east of the Kimbell and south of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Construction is set to start in July on widening the parking spaces while adding an integrated bike-share pad, more landscaping, a water feature and shaded pedestrian paths, the foundation said in a news release.
The $8 million project, scheduled to be completed in 18 months, will sit on a nearly 6-acre block bound by University Drive, West Lancaster Avenue, Van Cliburn Way and Darnell Street. Parking will remain free.
The parking lot will be closed during construction.
The design calls for wood and metal shade structures, concrete benches, 3-foot boundary shrubs, a terraced retaining wall and a looping, half-kilometer walking path. Most of the existing 60 trees, including the beloved JPS Oak, will remain on the property. They will be joined by 81 new trees, including cedar elms, red maples, river birch and live oaks.
In the midst of it all will be a shallow pool, 18 feet in diameter, from which an 8-foot-high column of lighted water will, on the hour, shoot into the air for one minute.
To make room for the changes, the number of spaces for cars will decrease from 291 to 227. For those on two wheels, there will be five bike racks accommodating up to 10 bicycles. In addition, there will be spaces for nine bike-share cycles.
The site has been used for parking for area museums since 1998, when the Kimbell foundation bought the land where the Fort Worth school district’s administrative complex once stood.
Redesigning the lot is the last phase of the Kimbell’s redevelopment plan, coming three years after the opening of the Renzo Piano Pavilion in 2013.
The project will be handled by Fort Worth architecture company FIRM817.
“It’s a landscape that happens to have parking areas for cars,” FIRM817’s Joe Self said in the release. “We were very much inspired by the Kimbell’s campus and chose materials and plant species that are reminiscent of the landscapes around the museum’s Piano Pavilion and Kahn Building.”
“They have created a plan that will turn the Darnell area into a gateway to Fort Worth’s celebrated Cultural District,” Ben J. Fortson, vice president of the Kimbell Art Foundation’s board of directors, said in the release. “The new space will welcome visitors and guide them to their destinations with picturesque landscaping and moments of respite, especially from the beating sun of our hot Texas summers.”