The University of Texas at Austin
Exhibit and Interpretive Design
fd2s played a pivotal role in the high-profile, high-stakes renovation of the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
One of the goals of the renovation was to make the institution’s vast collection – which includes manuscripts, photography, works of art, books, and major theater pieces – more accessible to the University community and the public. This drove the fd2s team to look for innovative ways to provide clues to the institution’s mission while also making the facility more inviting.
The architects’ decision to bring natural light into the interior by adding large expanses of glass at the building’s front corners created the opportunity the team was looking for. Showcasing signature pieces from the institution’s collection on the glass could demystify what was housed within while also creating highly engaging and photographable experiences both inside and outside of the building.
fd2s implemented the concept by assessing images from the collection and organizing them on the glass panes in a way that capitalized on the different qualities of the various media represented, which ranged from photographs and watercolors to charcoal sketches and line art. The team then worked closely with the fabricator to select the etching technique for the glass panels that would most effectively showcase these varied graphic elements.