Decoding Design

SFMoMA expansion seeks to connect museum and city

Posting in Architecture

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is getting a face-lift, with hopes to increase enhance the museum's relationship with the city that surrounds it.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is making some striking changes: doubling the existing gallery space, changing the sizes and shapes of existing galleries so that they can display a wider range of artworks, and getting a sleek new look.

However, Michael DeTullio from Core 77 Design, who is now on the accessions committee for SFMoMA's Architecture and Design department, was most excited however about the way the new museum is designed to "blur the edge between the city and museum."

The changes that attempt to integrate the museum into the city include new entrances on each side of the building and new street-level galleries that will be enclosed by glass so passers-by can see the art inside as well as the, even when the museum is closed. The ground-level galleries are hoped to increase public circulation, as are the central gathering space, new outdoor terraces and sculpture garden.

Inside, the museum is adding a multipurpose gallery space that will feature a wide range of projects from educational programs to live performances.

The new addition was designed by Snohetta architecture and design firm from Oslo, Norway and EHDD of San Fransisco, whose aim was an enhanced relationship between the museum and the city that surrounds it.

"The scale of the building meets the museum's mission, and our approach to the neighborhood strengthens SFMOMA's engagement with the city. Pedestrian routes will enliven the streets surrounding the museum and create a procession of stairs and platforms leading up to the new building, echoing the network of paths, stairways, and terracing that is a trademark of the city," said Craid Dykers, principal architect at Snohetta.

[Core 77]
Images: Snohetta

Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure