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The architects tasked with creating the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are thinking outside the box. Rather than building out a massive structure, they are instead molding the building into the fabric of the neighborhood. The idea is to both enliven and transform the area with a web of interactive art-filled side streets ready for exploration.
Groundbreaking for the expansion began on May 29, making it the first expansion of the SFMOMA in the last 20 years. The museum’s goal is to more than double the current art space. Designed by renowned Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, the 225,000-square-foot expansion will offer nearly 143,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor gallery space, as well as 41,000-square-feet of free-access public space. While Snøhetta is the lead architecture firm, it is also working with local firm EHDD.
“It’s unusual in that it opens up new passageways into the block. In the core of each of these blocks are these beautiful alleys,” Snøhetta principal architect Craig Dykers told California Home + Design. “The museum will give access to these smaller streets.”
The central structure will be a 10-story asymmetrical building. The northeast façade of the expansion will be covered with more than 700 6x20-foot cladding panels, which bring light to both the inside and outside of the museum.
“The project has a very unique façade,” Dykers said. “It has very thin concrete panels that are vacuum-modeled into these shapes. They create this beautiful rippling façade that will catch the light.”
The LEED Gold certified building will also have an outdoor terrace, elongated windows, a performance theatre, and dozens of gallery rooms. One wall of the building will have a 25-foot-high window that will be filled with art for passersby. Another side of the museum will have a large-scale vertical garden covering an entire wall – making it the biggest public wall of native plants in San Francisco.
“The museum, which once used to be introverted, will be opened,” Dykers said. “This will be a complete urban transformation. The past will no longer be prologued.”
The revamped museum is expected to open in 2016. While SFMOMA is closed for the next couple of years, it will still host a series of art and performance events around the Bay Area and relocate its retail shop to 51 Yerba Buena Lane. The museum has also launched an augmented reality mobile app that lets people virtually walk through the upcoming museum.
For behind-the-scenes videos and updates on the SFMOMA expansion, click here. See you in 2016!