SFMOMA’s leadership worked closely with Snøhetta to design the new museum as an outward- looking and engaging gathering space. Connections to the surrounding neighborhood and city were carefully considered, along with bringing the benefits of landscape and the outdoors to the museum spaces.
New pedestrian pathways around the museum and a new public entrance on Howard Streetbetter integrate SFMOMA into the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood and activate the surrounding streetscape.
The iconic eastern façade of the Snøhetta-designed expansion, inspired in part by the waters and fog of the San Francisco Bay, is comprised of more than 700 uniquely shaped and locally fabricated FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels. Throughout the day, the movement of light and shadow naturally animates the rippled surface. Silicate crystals from Monterey County embedded in the surface catch and reflect the changing light.
The new galleries in the Snøhetta-designed expansion are intimate in scale and create ideal conditions for viewing the artworks. Diverse gallery spaces support the display of specific collections and works of various scales. Minimal, flexible, column-free galleries permit countless temporary wall layouts—a blank canvas for the curators.
Terraces adjacent to many galleries extend exhibitions into the city, displaying outdoor sculptures and offering unparalleled views of San Francisco. The new third-floor Pat and Bill Wilson Sculpture Terrace is home to the largest public living wall in the United States with more than 19,000 plants and 21 native species. This curated sequence of spaces allows visitors to move between incredible artworks to broad overlooks, and enjoy views of the city as they circulate through and up the museum.
Complementing the museum’s incredible art galleries, the new SFMOMA features dynamic educational program and performances.
The new Koret Education Center serves students, teachers and lifelong learners with a resource library and studio classrooms. SFMOMA partnered with Bay Area innovator Meyer Sound to install sound solutions throughout the museum, including a state-of-the-art Constellation acoustic system in the newly renovated Phyllis Wattis Theater. The Wattis Theater screens archival film and offers cutting-edge 4K projection. The new Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box is a uniquely flexible space, with a theatrical truss that supports a variety of performances, events or large scale artworks.
Photo credits: Snøhetta.