San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Design Features Free Ground-Level Galleries and Public Spaces and Dedicated Educational Spaces throughout the Museum

. December 1, 2011 . 0 Comments

Developed by architectural firm Snøhetta in collaboration with SFMOMA and EHDD of San Francisco, the design details released today reveal increased public circulation between the museum and the city through the creation of free ground-level galleries, new entrances that make the museum accessible from every direction; a central public gathering place, and more extensive routes of public circulation. The use of glass throughout the building, as well as the creation of two outdoor terraces and a new sculpture garden, further serves to open up the museum and connect it to the city.

Snøhetta, SFMOMA Expansion Howard St. entrance; image Snøhetta.

The design of the interior spaces synthesizes the current Mario Botta–designed building and the new Snøhetta expansion into one seamless whole. Two main entrances (the current entrance on Third Street and a new one on Natoma Street) will lead into a central space that will serve as the public entry point to all galleries. To create an expansive, flowing space on the entry level of the museum, the original staircase will be removed from the Botta atrium. There will also be a new entrance added on Minna Street to create a more welcoming arrival space for the more than 13,000 schoolchildren that visit SFMOMA each year.

In addition to new routes of public circulation inviting visitors into the museum, the expansion will foster more intuitive navigation within the museum. While most museums isolate a single area of the museum dedicated to education, SFMOMA’s new design features a variety of education spaces throughout the building, directly connected to the galleries. The design also includes a new, multifunctional space that can be easily adapted for educational programs, live performances, or special events.

Since contemporary art is characterized by great variety in form, media, and function, a critical part of the expansion is the creation of galleries of differing scale, materials, and lighting specifically designed to enhance the presentation of a range of art, from photography to installation, video, painting, and sculpture. The galleries in the existing and new buildings will be unified and total 130,000 square feet, double the current square footage. The building also introduces a façade on Howard Street that will feature a large, street-level gallery enclosed in glass on three sides, providing views of both the art in the galleries and the new public spaces. Upon opening, the Howard Street gallery will house one of the gems of the Fisher Collection, Richard Serra’s masterpiece Sequence (2006). The sculpture will be visible from the outside even when the museum is closed.

The 235,000-square-foot expansion runs contiguously along the back of the Botta building, extending all the way from Minna Street to the north to Howard Street to the south. The expansion creates new routes of entry from the north, south, and east sides of the unified buildings—a significant, visitor-friendly enhancement to SFMOMA’s sole original public entry, to the west, on Third Street.

On its east side, the new building will feature a sweeping façade and an entrance in an area that is currently hidden from public view and largely unused. This will be realized through the creation of a mid-block, open-air, 18-foot-wide pedestrian promenade running from Howard Street through to Natoma Street that will open a new route of public circulation through the neighborhood and bring Natoma Street, currently a dead end, to life. Additionally, the design opens up a direct pathway between SFMOMA and the Transbay Transit Center currently under construction two blocks to the east of the museum. The public promenade will feature a series of stairs and landings terracing up to an entry court that extends from the new east entrance, providing additional public spaces. –

Category: Museum News

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