The 41,000 square foot Nerman Museum, the largest contemporary art museum in the four state region, hosts sixteen temporary exhibitions annually and showcases the Museum’s Oppenheimer Collection.
From a final list of five prominent architects, Kyu Sung Woo Architects, Inc. (Cambridge, MA) was selected by Johnson County Community College to design the Nerman Museum.
South Korean native Kyu Sung Woo first gained international prominence when he was chosen to design the 1988 Olympic Village in Seoul. Subsequently, he has designed the Ho Am Art Museum, South Korea, Whanki Art Museum, South Korea, the Arts of Korea Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Asian Culture Complex (South Korea) and many other commissions both in America and abroad. For the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Woo worked with the Kansas City firm of Gould Evans, LLC (which served as the local project architectural firm).
Woo’s design for the Nerman demonstrates his philosophy that a museum should be experiential – both in viewing art and experiencing the building itself. His incorporation of skylights, gallery clerestories, windows, and glass lobby walls provides museum visitors with “a connection to time and a connection to nature.”
Interior Nerman Museum spaces are linked to the exterior with expansive glazing at the ground floor lobby and strategically placed windows on the upper level, which connect to the distant landscape and provide expansive views. Controlled natural lighting is featured throughout upper and lower level galleries, except in the museum’s special “black box” new media gallery.
The exhibition spaces are connected by dramatic, monumental stairways bathed in natural light, which highlight one's ascension to serene upper level galleries. The gallery spaces are identified as a volume dynamically cantilevered from the core of the museum structure. The building is clad in a pristine veneer of white Kansas limestone. Grey Spanish limestone and white, quarter sawn oak gallery floors define the elegant interior spaces.