What Do You Think?

November 30, 2011  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd

Snøhetta, _SFMOMA Expansion Aerial Southeast Façade_; image courtesy Snøhetta

This morning, SFMOMA unveiled new design details of the expanded building project. The expansion, as you likely know by now, is being designed by architectural firm Snøhetta in collaboration with SFMOMA, and this morning Craig Dykers, one of the principals of the firm, talked SFMOMA staff through a presentation of the new designs. There will be new education spaces, lots of light, and ground-level galleries and orientation spaces that will be free to the public. Craig will be presenting and discussing details of the new design for the first time in public tomorrow evening, in YBCA’s Novellus theater. You’ll also be able to watch his presentation LIVE online, HERE.

Have you got questions for the architects? Don’t miss Rooftop TV: The Future Museum, a special interactive webcast conversation with Craig and some fantastic guests, Friday morning, 11:00 a.m.

Groundbreaking for the expansion is scheduled for summer 2013, with completion of new digs projected for early 2016. Here’s the PRESS RELEASE. There’s more detailed info on our expansion page. And here’s a video!


Snøhetta, _SFMOMA Expansion Night Aerial from Howard St._; image courtesy Snøhetta

Snøhetta, _SFMOMA Expansion Howard St. entrance_; image courtesy Snøhetta

Snøhetta, _SFMOMA Expansion Art Court_; image courtesy Snøhetta

Snøhetta, _SFMOMA Expansion View from Yerba Buena_; image courtesy Snøhetta

21 Comments

  1. Lilia Ahner Says:

    Gorgeous and breathtaking, can’t wait to see it realized!

  2. Vance Maverick Says:

    Wow — the ridged / webbed surface makes it much more interesting than the early picture. Looks good.

  3. jeremy Says:

    I wonder how people in the building next to it feel about having their view blocked by a giant building now. Imagine fighting hard for that office with a window just to have your view obstructed by a brick wall. :p

  4. Bianca Says:

    This is an enormous cube without connection to its surroundings. Beeing inside this building could be really great because you feel kind of shielded against distractions, but standing outside might be a little rejecting. Although it is a great building for itself!

  5. Zoe Says:

    From the outside I think it’s unimaginative, insensitive to the surroundings, grossly overpowering, and flat-out boring. No fancy interior photos with nice lighting can make up for the fact that this is not designed by anyone who knows and loves San Francisco. Shame on you, SF Moma.

  6. Sam Says:

    It looks like a monument to wealth and power that has been ploped down by some giant hand into the middle of San Francisco. It seems almost like a barrier or fortress, espcially when you think of the exorbitant fees required to cross the threshold. It almost makes an ordeal of the very act of entry, as if you were trying to produce some sort of primitive fear response in us or erect a monument to remind us of our own insignificant. The words self-aggrandizing come to mind.

  7. Sue Says:

    Not a fan of the building at all. Boring, has zero character, glad its not going up in my city.

  8. Dominic Says:

    I’m sad to hear you say that @Zoe. Sensitivity to the surroundings and to SF has ben one of the main concerns of the architects. Craig Dykers described how they tried to respond to the climate and topography of the city, and to the qualities of the immediate neighborhood, in his community presentation on Thursday (video: http://j.mp/rXUj7X). What do you think the design lacks in this respect? And @Sam: lowering thresholds to entry, and creating much more free public space has been a priority too. Though admission to museums generally is not cheap, it is true. (Disclosure: I’m Education Curator at SFMOMA.)

  9. konrad Says:

    From these illustrations i can’t tell what the material it’s made of is, but it looks bright and bulkily ostentacious. It’s good that more work will be able to be on display inside. I just hope the admission price doesn’t go up too much. As a kind of entertainment it should be on par with the cost of a movie, since most people spend about the same amount of time in there as for a feature film.

    Thanks for asking!

  10. Suzanne Says:

    Hi Konrad! I don’t remember what the surface material is/made from, but it does have this amazing wave-live pattern of ridges that will change and shift the light and shadows dramatically, like light on water, or rolling fog, as the sun passes overhead throughout the day. Craig shared lovely rendering of this as it’s expected to look over the course of a day. I’m curious to see what it will be like in life. Also, I like your suggestion that entrance fees might be regulated by duration spent in an entertainment environment. I agree with all those worrying about the rising (already high) museum admission fees, not just at SFMOMA, and especially in this country. Who can afford it, is always a good question.

  11. Melissa Says:

    To be honest i dont see how thats beautiful in any way. In less than 5 years this buliding will not be relevant. We should be creating sustainable, efficient,buildings. Awful

  12. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Melissa…what do you mean by sustainable, efficient, buildings?

  13. Sam Says:

    Whenever a building along these lines is put up, some people praise it because the skein reflects changing light, or has “wave-like” patterns, or reflects the sky, or some such thing. I consider this to be a side issue that somehow always assumes major signifigance, as if one design feature in and of itself outweighed the real urban planning issues at stake. Even from an aesthetic point of view I think a metal skein is far less significant here than the issue of scale, cost, and visitor experience. This feels beyond human scale. And I think people respond negatively to that for various reasons: especially, in an art context where the art at its best seeks to connect with, rather than alienate, a viewership. I think people question whether the design has truly considered visitor experience, that is, what it means to have a transformative moment with a work of art, or whether this isn’t part of a musuem “arms race” in which institutions compete for larger, flashier, more expensive architecture.

  14. Dominic Says:

    @Sam. On the issue of scale: I value they way it is being designed as medium-sized for its city block, or its neighborhood. One of the aims is to make a bridge between the huge size of the hotels and other larger buildings, and the smaller buildings many of them smaller, independent businesses (you can see this in the first image above). I’m not saying it is certain to work out this way, but Snohetta are interested in connecting with the human scale of the alleys (Minna and Natoma) and directing the life of the neighborhood at least to some extent away from the big car-centered streets like 3rd and Howard.

  15. Al Says:

    The best part of the design is the passageway and orientation/access to Natoma, which will improve its visibility and viability. Being that whole Howard Street frontage will not be built out, the wide walkway provides an area for staging the construction, lessening the ‘W’ hotel concerns about impacting their access for deliveries and such. My concern is having to go to the 2nd Floor to really access the Museum. That’s a
    lot of steps, let alone the idea of ramps, (this is a handicapped accessable conscious city). Most people will be looking for the elevator or an escalator for ease.

  16. Sam Says:

    Dominic, interesting points but I still see it and think “awkwardly oversized” (to borrow a phrase from the LA Times’ critic who saw these photos). Hopefully not awkwardly over budget though! Us SF taxpayers are really feeling the sting at the moment.

  17. Mark Mekko Says:

    Everyone knows the Fishers were very upset at the defeat of their 100,000 sq.ft. CAMP, Contemporary Art Museum in the Presidio, after many big and expensive public meetings. So then Don the father and collector dies of cancer, and his son Robert is on the Board of Trustees of SFMOMA. Of course also they need to dump some of their 12-warehouse collection of succatash-can art somewhere and get a tax write-off, so why not right behind the existing SFMOMA? THe Firehouse there will be relocated, and apparently the Fishers are so “generous” (read: SF taxpayers) that they’ll pay for the new one! Gee! Apparently there’s a whole lot of suckers that will pay to go in there, and it’s an ideal location to find them: they’re called TOURISTS, especially from the big Moscone Center Conventions.

  18. flossy pinkstone Says:

    I feel bad for every San Francisco architectural design firm that did not get this job.
    Sad.

  19. Brandon Drew Holmes Says:

    As someone who has spent at least three years of their life walking up and down New Montgomery and the likes, I honestly don’t see this. Realizing it is not impossible, but all I can come up with is feelings of disgust and frustration. I’m not surprised that it’s some large lump of silver jagged edges and unnecessary light flowing onto the streets and other buildings. It is a difficult task, I’d imagine, to create within the limitations of space and what the structure is meant to hold, but this doesn’t seem as if it takes the area and it’s inhabitants into consideration. The de Young sits in an open field almost, which allows it to be free of many of the emotions this design inspires within us. But with that said, that building works within it’s environment. This one seems to want to dominate it’s terrain. Without getting into the pros and cons of the museum owning this collection, the Fishers themselves and the price art patrons/sf will pay for this structure, it just seems sad, gross and stereotypical. I’m interested in the idea of acknowledging that the design of the building is interesting. the creator of the image and building have produced something that is striking, but when you take into consideration the feel of the city and the existing moma facility it just doesn’t work. No one wants to have a cardboard box put in it’s place, but if this is the approach that is being taken then we might as well stop caring and acknowledge that it’ll just end up being a hunk of metal trash like the majority of the builds that exist as “museums”. I wonder when in the process of producing these structures if these artists, designers or whatever stop to remove themselves from the equation and produce an aesthetically designed building that isn’t a monument to nothing to end up being out done by the next one.

  20. flossy pinkstone Says:

    A world class city should be able to field their own home team.

  21. S.P. Reid Says:

    I like it, but I am just an artist/poet/photographer who already likes sfmoma, open space and SF and Nor Cal in general. The big question we COULD ask: would Picasso and his good friends have liked it? Would Picasso have added anything? Anything missing? Any SILHOUETTES of anybody in particular that we could add? Founders? What about Van Gogh? Would he have added in some certain color somewhere? Would Picasso have added in something nobody’s thought of? Personally I would add in a Chinese touch here, and an Irish touch there or put a Lotus shape somewhere big. Whatever you do, it will be good. Just thinking.

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