Snøhetta's gargantuan expansion to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is finally nearing completion. Designed to more than double the museum’s footprint, the striated white behemoth contrasts sharply with the SFMOMA’s original home: the Mario Botta-designed postmodernist building from 1995. The building extension focuses on improved accessibility between the museum and the city and features an abundance of glazing for natural lighting and views, as well as a large and lush vertical green wall filled with 16,000 plants.
Unlike Botta’s patterned masonry building, Snøhetta created a white, iceberg-like mass clad in fiberglass-reinforced polymer panels. The front of the building features a rippling matte facade, made from hundreds of individually molded panels, which create an interesting play of light and shadow throughout the day. Horizontal strips of glazing punctuate the building exterior and let in natural light and views.
Once complete, the 10-story, 235,000-square-foot addition will offer nearly three times the previous exhibition space, debut the new Pritzker Center for Photography—the nation’s largest gallery, research, and interpretative space for photography in any art museum—and feature 260 works from the renowned Fisher Collection and 600 more artworks not seen before at SFMOMA. Though the extension is “integrated seamlessly” with the museum’s existing 225,000-square-foot building, the Snøhetta-designed expansion is distinguished from its predecessor by an emphasis on transparency and connection with the city. The new building will boast nearly 45,000 square feet of free public access and offer free admission in perpetuity for all visitors 18 and younger.
The museum extension will also include enhanced performance spaces; programming for children and families in the new Koret Education Center; a sculpture garden with a living green wall; a two-story conservation center; and the In Situ restaurant led by chef Corey Lee. The museum is slated to open May 14, 2016.
Images via Snøhetta, courtesy of SFMOMA