Architecture firm Snøhetta has created human-scaled galleries, intriguing stairways, and windows and terraces that open to engage the city. In one of the largest museums devoted to modern and contemporary art in the United States, the architecture entices visitors away from the art only so they can return to it refreshed.
Much of the 235,000-square-foot addition accommodates the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, a pre-eminent assemblage of postwar and contemporary art, with galleries devoted to works by Alexander Calder, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra, and other notable artists. Serra’s 2006 “Sequence,” a monumental labyrinth of Corten steel, occupies the ground floor, a substantial appetizer to the visual feast seen on the floors above.
A sequence of staircases invites visitors to traverse a light-filled circulation route. To protect the art from direct sunlight, the architects created wide, glazed corridors adjacent to the galleries that offer glimpses out to the city.
The seventh-floor terrace, with its views of the surrounding cityscape, exerts a pull to the top public level. The three levels above are restricted to staff and contain mostly open-plan offices, designed by Snøhetta with furniture selection by STUDIOS Architecture, that feature expanses of glass on all four sides.
We have a variety of spaces that allow us to show our collection to its very best,” says Ruth Berson, SFMOMA’s deputy director for curatorial affairs. “Some are intimate, some are larger, some have different ceiling heights, and some are lit by skylights, while others are lit by artificial light.”
Photographs commissioned by Contract Magazine and SF MOMA
Photographer: Jasper Sanidad
Production Crew: Mark Jayson Quines, Molly Galvin
Post Production: Jasper Sanidad, Aura O'Brien