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Stanford University dedicates new art building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

This fall, Stanford University opened the McMurtry Building, an innovative new facility to house Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History as well as the Art & Architecture Library. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the 100,000-square-foot space unites the making and studying of art at Stanford under one roof for the first time. Open to students in time for the fall quarter and with a dedication ceremony on Oct. 6, 2015, the $85-million building is the newest addition to Stanford’s burgeoning arts district at the entrance of campus. The building is named in recognition of the generosity of Deedee and Burt McMurtry, MS ’59, PhD ’62, whose transformative $30-million gift made the construction possible.

“The new McMurtry building will further the interdisciplinary investigation of the arts to which Stanford is committed,” said Matthew Tiews, Associate Dean for the Advancement of the Arts. “We believe the arts are a necessary part of a well-rounded education. They stimulate analysis and problem-solving, as well as providing a means for self-expression and connection with the university community. We’re very grateful to Burt and Deedee McMurtry, whose extraordinary gift has given life to this pioneering space. I’m confident the McMurtry Building will foster deeply enriching experiences for students and faculty in the Department of Art & Art History and from across the campus.”

The new facility and its state-of-the-art equipment will support the Department of Art & Art History’s diverse programs and teaching missions for both undergraduate and graduate students. The vision for the building was developed with the leadership of the faculty, together with the office of the dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources.

“The McMurtry Building allows us to imagine new and different ways of teaching,” said Nancy J. Troy, current chair of the Department of Art & Art History. “Now, we and our students have an opportunity to rethink customary practices. The design features of the space encourage all of us to engage with one another in new and intensive ways, enhancing our methods, scholarship, and creative processes.”

The McMurtry Building’s expanded studio space allows the Department of Art & Art History to increase art practice course offerings by over 35 percent in the next two years, answering growing student demand for fine arts classes. Additional spaces include a second digital media studio and a digital darkroom, a print lab, a tinker lab, a sound recording studio, and larger studios overall. Studios and classrooms will be outfitted with new equipment, including 3D scanners and printers, laser cutting technology, a computerized CNC router for cutting wood, aluminum, steel and plastics, and digital printmaking technology. Art history and film studies classes will benefit from the latest high-end digital projectors in all classrooms and a 45-seat screening room.

“The department’s new home in the McMurtry Building will give us a chance to expand our teaching in many ways, but we will remain focused on giving our students something harder to define, more difficult to quantify, namely, a lifelong dream and realization of what it is to study art, to make art, to think about art,” said Alexander Nemerov, the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities and the incoming chair of Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History.