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Nasher Showdown Over Sun’s Glare Sizzles – And Fizzles – Again

by B. J. Austin 13 Jun 2013 3:11 PM

KERA’s BJ Austin reports on the latest salvo in the ongoing troubles between the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower.


The Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund introduced a new proposal today to fix the glare its Museum Tower high-rise has created at the Nasher Sculpture Center next door. But Nasher officials say it’s a dressed-up version of a proposal already rejected.

The plan calls for slight adjustments to the dozens of occuli in the Nasher’s ‘sunscreen’ roof, pointing them away from the 42-story, glass tower. Pension Fund officials say that would get rid of the glare and the fund would pay for it.

In a statement, Nasher officials call it a “publicity stunt” that recycles “the same grossly inadequate and deeply flawed idea.”

The roof was designed by noted architect Renzo Piano to allow natural sunlight to sift into the exhibit space. But museum officials say the unwelcome glare has raised indoor temperatures and scorched the grass in the garden.

Pension Fund officials have said the two-year old stalemate is not helping sales of the 122 condos in the $200 million dollar building. Fund administrator Richard Tettamant says the roof-change proposal is backed by solid science and engineering.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has pleaded for a solution to restore the prestigious Nasher and sell the condos, thereby protecting the city’s public safety pension fund.

But it appears the Dallas Arts District duel in the sun remains a standoff.

Statements from both after the jump.

Nasher statement, issued by spokeswoman Kristen Gibbens:

The glare from Museum Tower is a problem for the entire Arts District, not just the Nasher Sculpture Center. 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. The bottom line is that the owners of Museum Tower need to fix their building.

Statement from Richard Tettament, Administrator of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Board (owner of Museum Tower). Presented at today’s Pension Board meeting:

Good morning! The Chairman has asked me to update the Board on Museum Tower at this time. The update will be in three parts. First, I will provide a short statement which will be followed by a video, both of which will be in open session followed by a closed session real estate to discuss other Museum Tower issues.

Museum Tower is internationally acclaimed as one of the most elegant, special residential properties in the world, and it is located right in the heart of the Dallas Arts District.


When we broke ground in 2010, Museum Tower was important for a number of reasons. As the first major construction project since the 2008 recession, it was an important economic stimulus for Dallas. And, it brought residential living to the heart of the city.

Museum Tower was designed and built to LEED Gold environmental standards. City codes everywhere are requiring more energy efficiency in new construction, and high performance glass is the most popular choice in building materials to help meet these tougher green requirements.

It wasn’t until the exterior of our building began to go up that we became aware that the oculi sunscreen system covering the Nasher Sculpture Center’s glass roof was pointed directly at our property. That’s when we learned that our energy efficient glass was reflecting sunlight into the galleries during certain times of the day. This was an unexpected and unintended development.

We’ve worked very hard over the last year and a half to find a way to eliminate the reflection in the Nasher galleries and make the Nasher visitor experience comparable to what it was before Museum Tower was built. However, finding something that works on a 42-story glass building is more complicated than it might seem.

Today’s Announcement

It gives me great pleasure to announce today that after studying more than 20 ideas, our world class team of engineers, scientists and optical experts have designed, tested, and computer simulated a solution that provides 100% remediation of the reflection in the Nasher galleries.

The good news is that involves only a slight reconfiguration of the Nasher’s sunscreen design. The science, engineering and computer simulation proof of this solution are so strong, Museum Tower, LP has committed to pay for testing on the Nasher, as well as paying for production and installation on the entire Nasher gallery.

And now I would like to show you the oculi-sunscreen solution. The video you are about to see is a compilation of our work, and includes the animation, engineering and science reports presented on April 26th to Nasher Trustees David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher Haemisegger.

The Nasher trustees agreed to evaluate our proposal. We are anxiously awaiting their response and look forward to working with them to advance this solution. I want to thank the Nasher Sculpture Center and the public for their patience while we searched for a solution.


We invite everyone to review the research, testing and design of the oculi sunscreen system on a website we have set up for this purpose:


Just prior to going into closed session I want to take a moment to personally thank the team of experts, each person spent hundreds of hours working on finding a solution. It became a mission. In particular, I want to thank Dr. Cy Cantrell who guided this international team with not only his expertise in optics and engineering but with his wit and charm also.


And, now we’re going to go into closed session for further discussion.