SFMOMA Reveals Its $300 Million Expansion (PHOTOS)

  • Post comments:0 Comments
  • Reading time:6 mins read
You are currently viewing SFMOMA Reveals Its $300 Million Expansion (PHOTOS)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or SFMOMA, is set to unveil its new $300 million expansion this Thursday. The expansion will more than double the museum’s current size, adding 80,000 square feet and three new exhibition galleries that will be open to the public starting in May.

The expansion, designed by architect Snøhetta, is part of a decade-long expansion plan. The museum currently occupies a building designed by Mario Botta in 1995. Construction on the new museum building will begin after it opens.*

SFMOMA’s new building makes a bold architectural statement. Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, the $300 million expansion is the largest capital project in the museum’s history.

The new structure will provide an additional 82,000 square feet of space, bringing the total area to 144,000 square feet. The expansion will streamline and unify the complex of five buildings that compose SFMOMA.

The theater and outdoor plaza will be accessible to museum visitors, who can see them from the street or through large windows on Howard Street.

The expansion will include a new three-story wing with a glass facade facing Yerba Buena Gardens, along with a three-story wing that faces Market Street.

The building’s transparency will allow passersby to view what’s happening inside it.

It’s been years in the making, but finally we’ve gotten a look at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s new $300 million expansion. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, with local firm Snøhetta collaborating on the project, the new wing will nearly double SFMOMA’s size, adding 60,000 square feet of space to the museum and bringing it up to more than 200,000 total square feet.

The expansion features three levels of galleries, some 12,000 square feet of flexible space for rotating shows and events, and a rooftop garden. A second-floor bridge will connect the two buildings physically as well as visually; since the original building was designed by modernist architect Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore Owings & Merrill, while the expansion is by Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

Image © Snøhetta / SFMOMA – all rights reserved

While the addition won’t be completed until late 2016 or 2017 (due to funding delays), SFMOMA has already begun moving into its new digs. The first exhibition in the new space will be “Picasso Black and White,” which will open to the public on March 4th.”

The museum, which is set to open in May 2015 in the new 1.3 million-square-foot building on Fourth and Mission streets, is a game-changer for San Francisco.

The expansion is being funded by $300 million in private donations — including $50 million from Gap founder Donald Fisher — as well as $70 million from the city. The entire project, which includes an outdoor sculpture garden, will cost $305 million.

The museum has been closed since June 2012 for construction, but the new building gives SFMOMA a chance to rethink what it means to be a 21st century art museum. The expansion will nearly triple the size of the current museum, allowing it to display more than 14,000 works of art, according to SFGate.

“I don’t think there’s any other museum that has this kind of opportunity,” SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra told SFGATE. “We’re going to be able to demonstrate how powerful contemporary art is.”

The museum will be a different experience for visitors too. Instead of confined galleries, they’ll be invited into spaces that are more organic and less intimidating.

“We want people to feel comfortable and relaxed,” Benezra said. “We want them to

It’s a huge expansion for the museum, which is already one of the biggest in the country. SFMOMA has been planning this expansion since 2000 and has raised $350 million to fund its construction.

In addition to the various galleries, the new addition will include an education center and a sculpture garden. All told, the expansion will double SFMOMA’s current gallery space.

The museum is being designed by Snøhetta, an architecture firm from Norway that also designed New York’s 9/11 Museum. The local firm Studio Gang is collaborating on the project as well.

The new building will be LEED Gold certified, meaning it will aim for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification by using sustainable design elements and incorporating features that harness natural light and ventilation.

The museum, designed by Snøhetta, will be three times the size of SFMOMA’s original facility in a former industrial building in San Francisco’s South of Market district. “The design is part of a trend of museums moving downtown,” said Deborah Klochko, the museum’s director. “There are so many cultural institutions that really want to be downtown.”

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

The expansion is expected to open in 2016.

A museum expansion is a delicate and risky proposition, fraught with peril. But it can also be a tremendous opportunity for an institution to re-imagine itself, not just for the space it intends to occupy, but for the whole world. 

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has had this chance to re-imagine itself, and in doing so has also helped us reimagine what comes next for museums in a post digital age.

SFMOMA plans to open its new wing on May 14th, 2012. The project took 8 years and nearly $300 million. The building was designed by Snøhetta , the same firm that designed NYC’s 9/11 memorial. The two buildings couldn’t be more different, but they are both examples of how architecture can now engage with our current culture by referencing its past.

In January we talked about the relationship between online media and museums . SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra said that the relationship between online media and the museum is “complicated.” He went on to say that “if you want to know what’s happening in contemporary art today you have to come here.”

I agree. I think that without context both online media and museums can provide us with

Leave a Reply