ROANOKE, Va. -Visitors to this city energized with nightlife and cultural attractions want to spend time at the Taubman Museum of Art, a new structure planted among open-air cafes, craft galleries, and trendy shops.

The soaring roof forms of stainless steel and glass seemingly overreach the building's footprint as if to wave at passersby. Architect Randall Stout of Los Angeles captured the drama of the mountains and grounded it in native limestone to create this award-winning design that presides with great dignity over the street scene.

Opened in 2008, the 81,000-square-foot Taubman Museum has evolved into the city's "living room" - an inviting place people go to be with friends and enjoy cultural experiences. Stout put gathering spaces on the ground level: lobby, café, store, auditorium, theater and education area. Visitors ascend an illuminated grand staircase to galleries holding traveling exhibitions and the museum's permanent collection. Significant holdings of 19th and 20th century American art, Japanese prints, European art and ancient Mediterranean art rotate for viewing.

Stout, 53, a Knoxville, Tenn., native, is a 1976 graduate of Halls High School. He is the son of Roger and Gloria Stout of Halls. He received a bachelor of architecture from the University of Tennessee and a master of architecture from Rice University. He completed a three-year internship at the TVA architectural design branch during the time when TVA was involved with solar design. Stout opened his own firm in 1996 after experiences as designer with SOM, Houston, and as senior associate with Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Los Angeles.

Stout, who also designed the addition of the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, relates their similarities: "The Taubman Museum and Hunter Museum share a language of welcoming architectural gestures. Tall lobbies of glass are composed for views that connect visitors with their environments. Whether overlooking the Tennessee River or nestled urbanistically beside the Blue Ridge Mountains, these museums are sensitive to their place while energetically expressing the joy of visual arts in their respective communities."