I recently experienced the McMurtry Building on Stanford University Campus designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. I had read the review in the SF Chronicle by Steve Whiting and was quite intrigued.  I decided to add it to my bucket list of local projects to tour.

The following week I read the review by John King and decided to make touring the project our “family outing” for the weekend because he gave a less than glowing review to the project as a whole. I try not to impose too many busman’s holiday’s upon my DW, but I got into architectural photography because I love architecture as an art. I enjoy touring new projects and experiencing these remarkable creations.

Selected views of the McMurtry Building at Stanford University, Arts and Art History Buildings

The impression of the project I got from reading the article was that the design was indulgent of the architects agenda and is less than the best solution for the client. However, he did feel it will serve it’s purpose because the studios are well designed for the purpose of teaching art.

“The newest arts building at Stanford University shows why the hiring of hot architects can be a two-edged sword.
You’re likely to get innovative and edgy design, with visual flourishes that are catnip to design blogs and magazines. You also might end up with a building that seems tailored more to the architect’s global body of work than the local task at hand.”

John King
San Francisco Chronicle

My first hand impression is that this is a fun place to be. The project is fitting for the purpose of studying art and art history. I loved that it was situated right next to the Rodin Garden. I would think the creative and uplifting design, along with it’s close proximity to the Rodin Garden would be an inspiration to the students and faculty because I felt inspired by the interaction of color, materials, textures and geometry.

Every time I turned a corner I experienced delightful new aspects of the design and was entertained by the playful composition, use of color and the airiness of the project as a whole.

The day was overcast so I didn’t get the full effect of the architects vision. I plan to return and experience it on another sunny day. I think this is a wonderful contribution to Stanford’s architectural collection that will be fondly remembered by all who go there to study art and art history, or those who just appreciate good design.