McMurtry Building for the Department of Art & Art History

Stanford’s McMurtry Building for the arts provides unified facilities for art history, art practice and film programs.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, along with the executive architect, Portland, OR-based Boora Architects, designed not only a new home for the Department of Art and Art History but an interdisciplinary hub for the arts at Stanford that is fostering interaction and collaboration among students and faculty, and support the integration of the arts into university life.

Housed within 96,000 gross square feet and under one roof are programs in art practice, design, art history, film and media studies, and documentary film and video. The building include art studios, screening spaces, film editing rooms, exhibition space, the Experimental Media Art Lab and Sound Studio and the Bowes Art & Architecture Library. The McMurtry Building is located at 355 Roth Way, between the Cantor Arts Center and Parking Structure 1. Students were welcomed into the building the first day of fall term 2015 and the building was dedicated on Oct. 6, 2015.

Contact and Press Resources


Lisa Boissier
Director of Finance and Operations
Department of Art & Art History

Robin Wander
Senior Director of Arts Communication
University Communications

Design renderings courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

McMurtry Building Architectural Tour [VIDEO]
Exterior of the McMurtry Building
Interior Courtyard Entry
Upper Courtyard
Arts District

Design Team

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) integrates architecture, the visual arts and the performing arts. The design studio was founded in New York City by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio; Charles Renfro was made a partner in 2004. Both Diller and Scofidio are recipients of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, which recognized their commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture. They were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2009. Other prestigious honors received by DS+R include the National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution, the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and numerous Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects.

DS+R’s current projects include the third phase of the High Line in New York, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro and Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Inaugural Year Events and Programs

  • Jan. 11–Feb. 28, 2016 – Hi5 First Year MFA Exhibition in the Penny & Jim Coulter Art Gallery
  • Jan. 14, 2016 – Christensen Lecture: theater critic for The New Yorker, Hilton Als in Cubberley Auditorium
  • May 12, 2016 – Christensen Lecture: writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit in Oshman Hall
  • May 17–June 12, 2016 – Design MFA Thesis Exhibition in the Penny & Jim Coulter Art Gallery

Press Releases

News Coverage

A new steel art building brings its own sense of style and flair to Stanford
Its exposed steel framing, thoughtful engineering and sharp angles give a bold new touch to one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.
—Steve Marusich, Modern Steel Construction magazine


Separate spaces: Diller Scofidio + Renfro's new Stanford building is a marvel
The new 100,000 sq ft McMurtry Building they designed to house Stanford University's Department of Art & Art History is an architectural marvel in its own right.
—Michael Slenske, Wallpaper*


First Look: McMurtry Building for the Department of Art & Art History
Under a president who values creativity, Stanford University has been constructing an "arts district" near the main entrance to its sprawling campus.
—Fred Bernstein, World-Architects


McMurtry Dazzles
Visitors are now welcome to explore the ground-floor galleries, roof garden and surrounding space of the McMurtry Building.
—Staff, Stanford magazine

Living an Art-filled Life
Stanford art supporters Deedee and Burt McMurtry give back on a grand scale. “It’s hard to imagine living without art.”
—Sheryl Nonnenberg, Gentry Magazine

Stanford art and art history faculty, staff making plans for the McMurtry Building
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the new interdisciplinary arts hub is expected to house a hive of activity.
—Robin Wander, Stanford Report

Showcases for Art in Silicon Valley
The birthplace of Yahoo and Google, Stanford University is now ramping up and showing off its cultural resources.
—Jori Finkel, The New York Times

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Unveils Design for $85 M. Stanford Art and Art History Building
Next fall Stanford University will add a new building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the interdisciplinary design studio based out of New York, that will house its department of art and art history as well as its art and architecture library.
—Alexander Mahany, ARTNEWS

Stanford’s McMurtry Building is the third new arts building in as many years
Stanford’s arts district continues to develop on pace with the completion of the Anderson Collection building and progress on McMurtry. The idea is to build a Stanford arts district that taps into innovative artistic traditions on campus and beyond.
—Robin Wander, Stanford Report

How the Stanford Arts District grew from a midair inspiration
The Stanford Arts District fell out of a private jet crossing the country in 2007, on a return flight from a celebration of the program Stanford in Washington.
Reprinted with permission from the San Francisco Chroncile
—Sam Whiting, SFGate

Stanford’s art explosion in heart of Silicon Valley
In the four years since Lawrence Neil arrived at Stanford University as a freshman from Shaker Heights, Ohio, he has seen a concert hall open on campus, the amphitheater brought back to life as a rock venue and his freshman dorm turn into an arts-themed house.
Reprinted with permission from the San Francisco Chroncile
—Sam Whiting, SFGate

Gold shovels dig into another transformative building at Stanford
The McMurtry Building for the Department of Art and Art History is the latest project in the developing arts district.
— Robin Wander, Stanford Report

New building, new faculty demonstrate ambitious growth plans for Stanford’s Department of Art and Art History
The university reveals Diller Scofidio + Renfro architectural renderings for the McMurtry Building, scheduled for completion in 2015, and announces two new art history faculty, Alexander Nemerov and Richard Meyer.
— Robin Wander, Stanford Report


Stanford’s new McMurtry Building for the arts moves forward; noted architect selected for design

The new building will provide unified facilities for art history, art practice and film programs. The new interdisciplinary arts hub is part of a major investment in the arts across the campus.

— Cynthia Haven, Stanford Report