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San Francisco: SFMOMA Announces Finalists for Design of Expansion Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 May 2010 09:28



Selected Architecture Firm Will Collaborate with SFMOMA to Triple the Size of the Galleries, Transform the Visitor Experience, and Create an Unparalleled Cultural Resource on the West Coast

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has selected Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners, and Snøhetta as finalists following a comprehensive international search for an architectural firm to partner with the museum to expand and improve its current facilities. Motivated by the tremendous, ongoing growth of SFMOMA’s programming, collections, and audiences in recent years, the expansion will triple the museum’s gallery and public spaces; support enhanced exhibitions, educational programs, and services for the public; and showcase the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.

The expansion will encompass additional gallery space and interior enhancements in the museum’s Third Street building, designed by architect Mario Botta, and an extension with presence on Howard Street, to the south, that will connect to the back of the existing museum along the southern facade. SFMOMA owns the site at 670 Howard Street and, thanks to an innovative partnership with the City of San Francisco that will boost both public safety and the arts, SFMOMA’s development will also include a neighboring site currently occupied by a fire station. SFMOMA will finance the construction of a new, replacement fire station on nearby Folsom Street, representing a gift to the city of more than $10 million.

“SFMOMA has pursued a strategic vision in steadily growing both the size and quality of its collections and programs and expanding its educational role in the region since moving into our signature downtown building in 1995,” said Director Neal Benezra. “We are now poised for another transformation and look forward to collaborating with one of these exceptional architectural firms to develop an expanded museum that will support great art experiences, serve the neighborhood and the city, and reinforce SFMOMA’s role as a creative catalyst for San Francisco and a global force for contemporary art on the West Coast.”

During the next few months, SFMOMA’s architect selection committee, made up of museum and community leaders, will travel to the offices of each architectural firm and visit relevant buildings to better understand how they might contribute to SFMOMA’s vision of creating an inspiring place for visitors to engage with modern and contemporary art. The selection of the architect will be announced in September. Initial design concepts will be unveiled in 2011. The expansion is slated for completion in 2016.

SFMOMA first announced plans to expand in April 2009. This past February, the museum announced pledges totaling more than $250 million toward its projected $480 million campaign goal to fund the expansion and grow SFMOMA’s endowment. This early challenge grant from museum leadership includes $100 million for the endowment—increasing it by 100 percent.

The museum formed an architect selection committee last fall and engaged David Meckel, FAIA, director of research and planning at California College of the Arts, to serve as a resource in the process. The committee began by examining the work of some 35 firms and narrowed the search to a smaller group who were invited to present ideas on how they would approach the project and meet SFMOMA’s goals. Following further research and development with the finalists in the coming months, the search committee will make a recommendation to the full SFMOMA Board of Trustees. The chosen firm will join SFMOMA’s project team and partner with San Francisco–based architecture and engineering firms to execute the expansion.

“The Bay Area is known for innovation and creativity in all sectors—from the arts to business, technology, and even social movements,” said SFMOMA Board Chair Charles R. Schwab. “This expansion and the addition of the Fisher Collection will make SFMOMA one of the great modern and contemporary art museums in the world, and by strengthening the museum we will also boost San Francisco’s economy and its global reputation as a city for the arts.”

As part of the expansion planning process, SFMOMA worked with the management consulting firm Bain & Company late last year to complete a comprehensive business plan determining the operating expenses and related revenue and endowment requirements necessary to sustain an expanded program and facility. The project budget includes $250 million for the expansion and related expenses and $230 million for the endowment to support the growth of SFMOMA’s programming and operations and ensure the museum’s long-term success.

SFMOMA last completed a major expansion in 1995, when it moved from the small rented space in the War Memorial Building across from San Francisco’s City Hall into the celebrated brick-front building on Third Street. The move catalyzed incredible growth in the museum’s audiences, educational programs, exhibitions, and collections. During the past 15 years, SFMOMA’s annual average attendance has more than tripled to 700,000, membership has grown to 40,000, and the collection has more than doubled to 27,000 works. SFMOMA has also developed one of strongest exhibition programs in the world, organizing groundbreaking shows that travel to leading museums internationally, including recent surveys of the work of Diane Arbus, Olafur Eliasson, Eva Hesse, Frida Kahlo, William Kentridge, Sol LeWitt, Richard Tuttle, and Jeff Wall.

Today, SFMOMA is expanding to accommodate the growth of the past 15 years and to enhance its offerings for growing local audience and visitors from around the world. The expansion also provides great potential for continued future growth of the museum’s permanent collection. The Fisher Collection will be on display in the expansion alongside works from SFMOMA’s collection. The Fisher Collection will also become an integral part of SFMOMA’s exhibitions, educational and public programs, and ongoing scholarship.

From June 25 to September 19, 2010, SFMOMA will present Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection, a major exhibition drawn from the 1,100-work collection, with masterpieces by Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Ellsworth Kelly, Philip Guston, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and many others.

About the Finalists

Adjaye Associates, London
David Adjaye is recognized as one of the leading architects of his generation in the U.K. Adjaye formed a partnership in 1994 and quickly developed a reputation as an architect with an artist's sensibility and vision. His use of materials, bespoke design, and ability to sculpt and showcase light have engendered high regard from both the architectural community and the wider public. His projects have been diverse in scale, audience, and geography, and have ranged from collaborations with artists including Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson to exhibition design and temporary pavilions, as well as private homes. More recently, he has completed major arts centers and important public buildings that demonstrate his considered approach to understanding the needs of the constituency served by each building and a respect for integration with their existing locale.

His current projects include the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC; a cultural center for the city of Lisbon; and the rebuilding of the old city of Doha, Qatar. Recently completed projects include The Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, his first public building in the U.S.; Idea Store Whitechapel, London; the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo; and the Bernie Grant Arts Center, London. The first Louis Khan visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Adjaye has also served as the Kenzo Tange Professor in Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Adjaye is currently visiting professor at Princeton University and the Barcelona Institute of Architecture.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. The interdisciplinary design studio was founded in New York City by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio; Charles Renfro was made a partner in 2004. Diller and Scofidio are recipients of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, which recognized their commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture. They were recently made fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects and were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008. For their contribution to art and design, Diller and Scofidio were named among TIME magazine’s hundred most influential people of 2009.

DS+R recently completed the redesign of Alice Tully Hall and the renovation and expansion of The Juilliard School, both part of the firm’s ongoing work for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Phase 1 construction of the High Line, an urban park situated on an obsolete elevated railway stretching 1.5 miles long through New York City, was completed in 2009; phase 2 is currently underway. In 2006 DS+R completed the Institute of Contemporary Art, the first new museum to be built in Boston in a hundred years. Blur Building, a pavilion of fog and mist commissioned by the Swiss Expo, was completed in 2002. The Guardian named Blur as one of the top 10 buildings of the decade, while The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker named Alice Tully Hall and the High Line among the most culturally significant projects of last year. In 2003 the Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of the studio’s work.

DS+R is currently working with SFMOMA on the design for the exhibition How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine, 1976 to Now on view November 20, 2010, to April 17, 2011.

Foster + Partners, London
Founded by architect Norman Foster, Foster + Partners is an international practice based in London with project offices in more than 20 countries. The firm is known for its work on such projects as the Great Court of the British Museum in London, Beijing International Airport (the largest building in the world), the new German Parliament, the Reichstag in Berlin, and the new Hearst Headquarters in New York, the city’s first Gold LEED®–certified commercial tower. Other cultural projects include the competition-winning design for the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Winspear Opera House, Dallas; the Sackler Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts, London; the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts; the Musée Carré d’Art, Nîmes; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston expansion.

Foster + Partners has received 560 awards and citations for architectural excellence and has won more than 100 international and national competitions. Lord Foster has been the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1999), the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture (2002), the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for Architecture (1991), and the Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal (1983), among many other honors. In 1990 he was granted a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and in 1999 was honored with a Life Peerage, becoming Lord Foster of Thames Bank.

Snøhetta, Oslo
Snøhetta is an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm based in Oslo, Norway, and New York City. The practice is centered on a transdisciplinary approach where multiple professions work together to explore differing perspectives on the conditions for each project undertaken. A respect for diverse backgrounds and cultures is a key feature of the practice; reflecting this value, Snøhetta is composed of designers and staff from around the world.

The company has completed some of the world’s most recognized cultural projects, including the revival of the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which includes several museums; the new National Opera and Ballet, Oslo, Norway; the Lillehammer Art Museum, built for the Winter Olympics in Norway; and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site, New York (currently under construction). Current projects include the Wolfe Center for the Arts at Bowling Green State University, Ohio; the Hunt Library and Institute for Emerging Issues, North Carolina; and the Mutrah Fish Market in Muscat. In 2004 the company received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and in 2009 it was honored with the Mies van der Rohe Award. Snøhetta is the only company to have twice won the World Architecture Award for best cultural building (2005 and 2009).


About the Expansion
SFMOMA’s current building is 225,000 square feet with nearly 65,000 square feet of galleries, including the 14,400-square-foot Rooftop Garden. The expansion will provide approximately100,000 square feet of additional gallery and public space, greatly enhancing and expanding both the presentation of art in all areas of its collections and its educational programs.

The expansion will also include approximately 60,000 square feet of support space, including larger and more advanced conservation facilities and an expanded library. SFMOMA plans to relocate administrative support space into the new facility, providing new gallery and public space in its original building, while consolidating all staff offices to one on-site location. In addition, the expansion may include a new entry on Minna Street (which runs along the museum’s northern facade) to improve access for school groups and for visitors to the museum’s Phyllis Wattis Theater for public programs.

Gift of a New Fire Station
The City of San Francisco and SFMOMA are collaborating to finalize an agreement for the exchange of the existing fire station site on Howard Street for a new fire station to be constructed nearby at 935 Folsom Street, between Fifth and Sixth Streets. The agreement allows SFMOMA to proceed with the expansion while providing area residents with superior new fire station to replace the Howard Street station.

SFMOMA successfully completed the purchase of land for the new fire station on March 30, 2010. Subject to City approvals, SFMOMA will fund, design, and construct a new station in accordance with current building codes for essential facilities. In return, the city has agreed to deed to SFMOMA the existing Fire Station No. 1 and a portion of Hunt Alley directly behind the station. SFMOMA’s support for the new fire station represents a gift to the city valued at more than $10 million.

“With this gift of support from SFMOMA, our city will gain a new firehouse that will be better located, seismically safe, and better for the firefighters at no taxpayer expense, while also benefitting from an expanded and enhanced art museum,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The new firehouse will be designed by the San Francisco–based architecture firm, Gensler. Gensler is a global design and architecture firm headquartered in San Francisco with offices in 33 locations around the world including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago, Houston, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. Founded by Arthur and Drue Gensler in 1965 with an original focus on corporate interiors, Gensler is widely credited with elevating the practice of interior design to professional standing. Gensler specializes in multiple practices including commercial and government buildings, workplace, retail, airports, hospitality, education, mixed-use and entertainment, planning and urban design, brand strategy, mission-critical facilities, sustainable design consulting, and more.

Gensler projects include the Shanghai Tower, 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles, Mineta San Jose International Airport, L.A. Live, Dubai International Finance Center, and a major renovation of Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport now underway. Arthur Gensler is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and of the International Interior Design Association, and a professional member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a former member of SFMOMA’s Board of Trustees. He is also a charter member of Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of IIDA’s Star Award.

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