The upcoming $480 million SFMOMA expansion is a big deal, and the names that have been bruited about are certainly Big Names. But you can also hear the rumblings: Why no local firms? And especially why so few women in the mix?
There’s reason to hope that the names mentioned so far are still tentative, and that there’s a chance that the official shortlist, due in May, can remedy these shortcomings.
Ideally, there would have been an open competition to bring in a broad spectrum of talent. (Renzo Piano, after all, won an international competition to design the Centre Georges Pompidou when he was in his thirties.) But since that’s not going to happen, what about inviting some of our local firms to take a shot at it? As the San Francisco editor of AN, here’s a few I think could do us proud in tryouts:
—Aidlin Darling. This rising firm’s elevation of an old warehouse building (355 11th St. in San Francisco) into a modern sculpture bodes well for what they could do with an actual museum space.
—Anne Fougeron. The most prominent female architect in the city, Fougeron does classic modernism, but with a twist that feels uniquely Californian, like the JFR house in Big Sur. She likes to use slatting, which would be a refreshing counterpoint to all that brick.
—IwamotoScott. They’re known for their conceptual, not built works. But installations like “Voussoir Cloud” give rise to fantasies about wandering through galleries like clouds.
—Ogrydziak/Prillinger. They have some very strange, interesting buildings, like the Gallery House they designed for an art-collector couple. Imagine the Botta being attacked by salt-crystal deposits.
—Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works. Ok, he’s based in Portland, but his renewal of 2 Columbus Circle for the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC is delicate and amazing: ribbons of windows run down the wall and along the floor as translucent strips of glass.
If you were Neal Benezra, who would you grant an audience to?