Dallas Pension Battles With Museum Over Plan to Reduce Sun Glare

A Dallas pension fund whose 42-story apartment building with reflective windows may be damaging art in a nearby museum has come up with a plan to fix it: Reconfigure a sun screen over the museum’s glass roof.

The museum, the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas, rejected the proposal announced today as a “publicity stunt” that won’t prevent harm to its art, which includes works by Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.

The dispute pits Museum Tower, a $200 million investment by the city’s pension for police and firefighters, against the Nasher, designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Renzo Piano and Peter Walker. The pension fund and developer said they spent $1 million over the past year and a half trying to find a solution to the building’s glass sending light into the museum.

The resulting plan “restores the visitor experience in the Nasher galleries,” according to a statement today from building developers and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, which says it has $3.7 billion in assets.

The museum said the reconfigured sun screen won’t block the reflected light.

“Recycling the same grossly inadequate and deeply flawed idea in another publicity stunt is not a way to address the problems Museum Tower is causing for the people of Dallas,” said Kristen Gibbins, spokeswoman for the museum, in an e-mail. “The owners of Museum Tower need to fix their building.”

Arts District

The museum and glass apartment building, which opened this year, are located in the city’s arts district. The area also includes the Dallas Museum of Art and Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The pension has marketed the apartment building’s location near the cultural institutions as an amenity.

The museum became concerned during construction that the tower’s reflective glass was damaging art and the museum’s garden.

Museum Tower representatives described their solution to the museum in a private meeting on April 26, according to the statement. They said they’d pay for the sun screen modifications.

Tower representatives said in the statement today that they discovered only after the reflective glass was installed that the building was sending light through the sun screen and into the galleries.

Screening Sun

After studying a variety of options, the apartment developers concluded the only way to completely stop reflected light from entering the museum was to change the sun screen, said Greg Greene, one of the developers.

“This change will be imperceptible to visitors inside the galleries,” Greene said in an interview.

The solution doesn’t address sunlight directed into the museum’s garden, and it isn’t significantly different from a proposal made by developers more than a year ago that the museum rejected.

The developers and pension fund said in the statement that they hired a horticulturalist to study the impact of the light on plants in the garden and concluded it isn’t causing damage.

Steve Sandborg, vice president of sales and marketing for Museum Tower, declined to release sales figures on the building.

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