morphosis, the US firm led by pritzker prize-laureate thom mayne, has unveiled its design for the new orange county museum of art (OCMA). the 52,000-square-foot building will nearly double the institution’s current exhibition space, while creating a vibrant cultural destination for the californian city of costa mesa. the new building will expand access to the museum’s permanent collection of important works of modern and contemporary art from southern california and beyond.

morphosis orange county museum art
all images courtesy of morphosis architects



the new OCMA, which will be located at segerstrom center for the arts, comprises a series of spaces intended to be ‘both flexible and functional, as well as inviting and memorable’. morphosis’ design, which was spearheaded by mayne and project principal brandon welling, sees the institution’s main floor dedicated to reconfigurable open-span exhibition space. supported by mezzanine, black-box, and jewel-box galleries, the museum will be able to accommodate exhibitions spanning a variety of scales and mediums.

morphosis orange county museum art
in the entrance lobby, light-filled atrium space is crossed by bridges



meanwhile, the upper level is freed for administrative areas and a roof terrace that occupies 70% of the building’s footprint. this terrace serves as an extension of the galleries with open-air spaces that can be configured for installations, a sculpture garden, outdoor film screenings, or events. a hovering sculptural wing shapes the lobby atrium and creates a prominent location for the educational hall, a dynamic architectural space illuminated by a full-height window overlooking the terrace.

morphosis orange county museum art
hovering above the atrium lobby is a dynamic space for education events and performances



to the north, a grand outdoor public stair creates an inviting gathering space for pedestrians and visitors to the museum and adjacent performing arts venues. the distinctive high-performance façade, marked by undulating bands of metal paneling and glazing, plays off the architecture of neighboring cultural sites. the new OCMA will choreograph a rich and diverse experience that encourages visitors to immerse themselves in the celebrated climate of southern california.

morphosis orange county museum art
the ground floor and mezzanine hold open, flexible galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions



‘morphosis’ design for the museum evolved from both the ‘outside-in’ and the ‘inside-out,’ explains thom mayne. ‘the building is a final puzzle piece for the campus at segerstrom center for the arts, responding to the form of the neighboring buildings and energizing the plaza with a café and engaging public spaces. at the same time, the design also responds to a desire to enhance access to OCMA’s permanent collection through neutral, flexible exhibition spaces that can complement art of all media.’

morphosis orange county museum artrendering of video installation ‘a step on the sun’ by janet biggs



groundbreaking for the new building will take place in 2019, with a projected opening in 2021. OCMA will close its newport beach location on june 17, 2018, following a 41-year stay. temporary exhibitions and programs will be presented starting this fall at a gallery space in south coast plaza village in santa ana.

morphosis orange county museum art
the roof terrace at OCMA provides a space for events and gatherings