The city of San Francisco and the SFMOMA have just struck up a deal that leaves everyone happy. The new SFMOMA expansion, to be designed by Norwegian starchitects Snøhetta, will be built on city land in exchange for a new firehouse. The new firehouse will be funded by SFMOMA, and built to be bigger, more modern and earthquake safe.
The SFMOMA was looking at an adjacent spot for their expansion — which currently houses a near-condemned city-owned fire station, Fire House #1. The city happily accepted the museum’s offer to allow the expansion in exchange for a new firehouse, which is a double win for the city as an enhanced museum also benefits San Francisco as a whole.
The new plans by Snøhetta, who won a design contest for the expansion, will double the gallery exhibition space of the museum. Stretching over the current building designed by Mario Botta, the new expansion will reach skyward, integrating the museum with the skyscraper skyline in San Francisco’s metropolis downtown area. Further relating the museum to the city around it, a glass ground floor will be constructed. It will help mesh the pedestrians on the outside into the interior of the museum, inviting them into the sun drenched interior through several new entrances accessible from different sides of the street. New outdoor spaces like terraces and sculpture gardens will also be included, as well as a link to a new Transbay Transit Center, giving even easier access to the SFMOMA.
The city will receive a much needed, updated fire station in exchange, that will fare better during earthquakes. The whole project is set to break ground in 2013, with some likely adjustments and improvements to Snøhetta’s already fantastic design.