The Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum founded by Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas. Chinati’s mission is to preserve and present to the public permanent large-scale installations by Donald Judd and a selected group of artists. Sited on a former fort property, Chinati is comprised of over 35 buildings and 350 acres of land; the museum has an emphasis on works in which art, architecture and the surrounding landscape are inextricably linked. In 2016 Chinati celebrated the 30th anniversary of the museum’s establishment and simultaneously set out to conceive a master plan that protects Chinati’s history and philosophy and devises strategies for the future, particularly amid unprecedented growth in visitor attendance and tourism to Marfa. Led by Brie Hensold, while a principal at Sasaki, and in collaboration with Chinati leadership, the master plan team also included Heritage Strategies, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Aeon Preservation, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH), and Lord Cultural Resources.
The master plan describes Chinati’s past, surveys its present, and establishes guidelines—both practical and philosophical—for its future. It incorporates the protection of the artworks; the preservation of buildings; and stewardship of the land. Through an inclusive process of outreach to museum staff, the Marfa community and Chinati board members, the Chinati Master Plan defines a long-term vision and establishes a framework for the museum that embodies Chinati’s mission, builds on its history, and fulfills the imperative to shepherd and sustain the institution for decades to come.
The master plan clarified Chinati’s arrival and visitor entry sequence; laid out guidelines for landscape restoration, building renovations and restorations; and choreographed a redistribution of building programs to unlock new gallery and education space. Brie Hensold participated in a two-part symposium in 2016 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and in Marfa to share the plan with the public.
Donald Judd Art © 2017 Judd Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Select photos courtesy of The Chinati Foundation © Lachlan MilesProject Images