Menil Campus Upgrades – The Menil Collection

Houston, Texas

As part of their 2009 master plan, The Menil Collection set out to enhance their 30-acre campus with new facilities and features. To support this vision, LAN provided civil/site design and planning services for the Menil Drawing Institute facility, Bistro Menil, expanded energy house, and campus parking district.

The Menil Drawing Institute is a state-of-the art facility dedicated to the collection, exhibition, and study of modernist drawing. Due to the artistic nature of the project, LAN’s grading, drainage, and utility design required a non-traditional design approach to avoid disturbing the institute’s underground storage and landscaping. Tree preservation was an especially critical design component, as the building’s roof is designed to resemble a drawing when shadows are cast by nearby trees.

Bistro Menil required grading, paving, drainage, and utilities designed to meet City of Houston requirements. Due to the site constraints, LAN also designed an underground detention system to serve the property.

The new facilities required the expansion of the campus’s energy house to accommodate additional blowers and mechanical equipment. LAN designed the new site, which included consideration to maintain the existing facility’s operation during construction and transition.

To better serve visitors to the expanded campus, LAN performed a parking study which was used in the application for a special parking district – the second of its kind approved by the City of Houston. The parking district helps preserve the neighborhood feel of the area by reducing the required number of parking lots and encouraging pedestrian traffic throughout the campus.

At a glance

30-acre campus

30,150 SF Menil Drawing Institute

1,500 SF Bistro Menil

3-acre Gateway Parking Lot

10,000 SF Energy House

Reconstruction and extension of West Main Street


2nd special parking district in the City of Houston

Tight design constraints in a residential neighborhood

Buildings surrounded by green spaces and pedestrian paths



Land & Site Development



The Menil Foundation & Johnston Marklee Architects

Related Work

Land and Site Development