“The building is not static—it is designed to gracefully mature over time as life and art move forward together,” said Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers poetically wrapped up his opening remarks at the pre-launch event of their heralded new addition to the SFMOMA, which is slated to open May 14, 2016. These words captured well the essence of his presentation, one that focused on the new expansion as a landmark affair in the eighty-year history of the West Coast’s first museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. A development which witnessed an astoundingly successful fundraising campaign that topped off at $610 million which, in addition to covering construction costs, has more than tripled SFMOMA’s endowment. “This expansion enables us to tap more fully into the energy all around us, in a region known for its special creativity and beauty, while greatly increasing the presentations of a collection that includes remarkable concentrations of artworks that can be found nowhere else,” noted museum director Neal Benezra. A hardhat tour of the Snøhetta addition led visitors through a vastly expanded and exploded in scale and breadth building, which highlights new and unique spaces designed to house the large scale projects of modern art such as Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture Sequence (2006) and others. Soon, museum visitors will have access to more outdoor terraces that are scattered throughout the building offering exclusive and exceptional experiences of the downtown San Francisco urban cityscape. Previously a one entrance and exit museum this new building sports multiple access points and talks to current notions of porosity and an opening up of architecture as a fluid and dematerialized experience both programmatically and in the phenomenological. The focal point of the project, of course, is the eastern facade of the Snøhetta expansion, which is comprised of more than 700 individually shaped FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels fabricated by Kreysler & Associates, a local fabrication shop specializing in composites, affixed to a curtain-wall system, allowed for a much lighter structural frame because of their own lightweight nature, bringing costs down, and highlighting the technological versatility of sustainable, locally sourced materials, and digital fabrication. In celebrating the new building as a space for art, speakers at the topping off event ecstatically showed off new acquisitions their presentations and discussed the unique partnerships that allowed for these enormously expensive works to join the collection. Bob Fisher, the eldest son of Don and Doris Fisher, recounted his parents’ love affair with artwork and how they assembled over 1,100 art pieces that will become the focus point of many of the new exhibitions and offerings at SFMOMA over the next 100 years through an unprecedented public/private partnership. There was much discussion of the finances of the new building in addition to the artwork that has been added to the collection. Charles R. Schwab, chairman of SFMOMA’s Board of Trustees, focused on many of the unique collaborations and joint acquisitions of artwork through unique partnerships with other world renowned museums. Over 500 donors supported the campaign which both raised money and alongside it—the Campaign for Art has secured more than 3,000 artworks from over 200 donors, enhancing key areas of the museum’s holdings and providing visitors with a fuller, more textured view of contemporary art. In addition, the museum has added the Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest gallery, research and interpretive space devoted to photography in any U.S. art museum, and an increase in programs for children and families in the new Koret Education Center. SFMOMA will also now be free to anyone under 18, a gesture aimed at education and increasing accessibility for more kids and families to visit the space, in a time when ticket prices to exclusive culturally rich atmospheres seem to only get more and more expensive. This building sings a new song to the city of San Francisco and the world and one can only hope that more architects and designers (and most apropos developers) press forward with exceptional and forward thinking designs that help craft international and world-class destinations.
Posts tagged with "Neal Benezra":
PACKING UP CAMP Now that Donald Fisher’s CAMP project in San Francisco is officially dead, talk is swirling about where the Gap founder’s art collection will go. The whispers have focused on one obvious suspect: SFMOMA, which has already begun planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion that could get even bigger. One rumor has it that the museum is talking to the city about acquiring an adjoining fire station and building a new one elsewhere in return, in order to offer the Fishers their own digs. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra coyly parried questions with the comment: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Fishers to find a home for their collection as part of an expanded SFMOMA campus.” PEARLS BEFORE SCI-ARC Few talking heads can dent an architectural ego like critic, curator, and professor Jeff Kipnis, who moderated a chat at SCI-Arc on July 29 with Eric Owen Moss and Thom Mayne about Moss’ new installation at the school. Among Kipnis’ gems, he praised Moss’ garrulousness with the bon mot that he got paid by the hour for such events, and marveled at Moss and Mayne’s ability to argue with themselves—not among themselves, mind you, but each with his own self! Days later SCI-Arc hosted another panel, this time with Moss, Mayne, Hitoshi Abe, Peter Cook, Wolf Prix, and Peter Noever, among others. The event had the makings of a navel-gazing nightmare, but Eavesdrop promptly fell asleep and can’t recall a thing. Honest. RAISE HIGH THE WINDOW WALLS Everyone adores the Center for Architecture in New York, the storefront space run by the AIA New York chapter that draws more activity than any other such facility. Word has it that AIA Los Angeles is among those green with envy, which could mean a departure from its eighth-floor digs in Mid-Wilshire. The group is said to have hired a real estate consultant to scout locations nearer to Museum Mile. Will Wright, head of legislative affairs at AIA/LA, was semi-mum on the matter: “We have long-range plans to evaluate the opportunity to evolve into an Architecture Center.” Roger that, Will. Easy does it, we always say.