snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion opens in san francisco
snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion opens in san francisco snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion opens in san francisco
apr 28, 2016

snøhetta-designed SFMOMA expansion opens in san francisco

the new san francisco museum of modern art is set to open its doors to the public, with an official  opening scheduled for may 14, 2016. completed by snøhetta, the expanded SFMOMA seamlessly integrates a 10-storey structure with the original mario botta-designed building. purpose-built to showcase the institution’s celebrated collection, the transformed museum offers three times more exhibition space, with free access to ground-floor galleries. SFMOMA is opening with 19 special exhibitions, including highlights from the renowned fisher collection, hundreds of works promised through the campaign for art, and the new pritzker center for photography inaugurate museum.

the new SFMOMA viewed from yerba buena gardens | image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA
main image © iwan baan, courtesy SFMOMA



throughout the project’s development, connections to the surrounding neighborhood and city were carefully considered. new pedestrian pathways and a public entrance on howard street better integrate SFMOMA within the neighborhood and activate the surrounding streetscape. the eastern façade of the snøhetta-designed expansion is inspired in part by the waters and fog of the san francisco bay. throughout the day, the movement of light and shadow naturally animates the rippled surface, which comprises more than 700 uniquely shaped FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels.

the snøhetta-designed expansion of the new SFMOMA
image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA



our design seeks to create an intimate experience, welcoming a diversity of visitors to the magnificent collection, and fostering a connection between the visitor and museum for years to come,’ explains craig dykers, founding partner of snøhetta. ‘all of the senses will be engaged as part of the experience. wonderful day lit staircases lead visitors from floor to floor, the galleries create a comfortable viewing experience of the art, and terraces allow for moments of repose, to be reinvigorated by fresh air, sunlight and vistas of the city between galleries. the visitor should sense that the building is inspired by one of the great cities of the world, san francisco.’

the project viewed from yerba buena gardens
image by jon mcneal, © snøhetta



visitors are welcomed to the new museum via two main entrances, leading to ground floor exhibition spaces that are free to all. the entrance on third street welcomes visitors to the re-imagined evelyn and walter haas, jr. atrium, where an oculus floods the space with natural light. a 27-foot-wide mobile by alexander calder draws the eye upwards, while a sculptural stairway leads visitors to the helen and charles schwab hall — the main gathering space on the second floor.

alexander calder’s ‘untitled’ (1963) on view in the evelyn and walter haas, jr. atrium
image © iwan baan, courtesy SFMOMA



on howard street, a new museum entrance adjacent to the glass-walled roberts family gallery allows visitors to enter the museum through schwab hall. now containing richard serra’s monumental sculpture ‘sequence’ (2006), the gallery is presented to passersby, creating a visual connection between the city and the museum. a set of maple-faced roman steps provides an informal public gathering spot and seating area. diverse gallery spaces support the display of specific collections and works of various scales — ranging from intimate volumes to column-free galleries that permit temporary wall layouts. an octagonal-shaped gallery is devoted to seven works by agnes martin, while loft-like exhibition spaces on the seventh floor offer further room for contemporary artworks.

roberts family gallery featuring richard serra’s ‘sequence’ (2006)
image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA



terraces adjacent to many galleries are capable of displaying outdoor sculptures and offer sweeping views across san francisco. a third-floor sculpture terrace is home to the largest public living wall in the united states with more than 19,000 plants and 21 native species. the curated sequence of spaces allows visitors to enjoys artworks as well as views of the city as they circulate through the museum. the institution is one of the first in the country to employ all LED lighting throughout the gallery spaces.

‘approaching american abstraction’, part of the fisher collection exhibition
image © iwan baan, courtesy SFMOMA



we are so excited to open the doors and welcome the public to the new SFMOMA. we have an incredible new building, an expanded collection with thousands of new works of the highest quality, and a staff that is proud to share what they’ve been working on for the past three years. this is your SFMOMA and we can’t wait to share it with you,’ says neal benezra, the helen and charles schwab director of SFMOMA.

the institution is one of the first in the country to employ all LED lighting throughout the gallery spaces
image © iwan baan, courtesy SFMOMA

a city gallery featuring ‘untitled’ by joel shapiro (1989)
image © iwan baan, courtesy SFMOMA

pat and bill wilson sculpture terrace featuring alexander calder’s sculpture maquette for trois disques (three disks), formerly ‘man’ (1967)
image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA

the rippled façade comprises more than 700 panels
image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA

the new extension illuminated at night
image © henrik kam, courtesy SFMOMA




project info:


design architect + architect of record: snøhetta
associate architect: EHDD, san francisco
project construction cost: $305 million USD
square footage: 460,000 square feet: 225,000 square feet (botta building) plus 235,000 square feet (snøhetta expansion)


snøhetta team
partner-in-charge: craig dykers
project architects: aaron dorf, lara kaufman, jon mcneal
senior architects: simon ewings, alan gordon, marianne lau, elaine molinar, kjetil trædal thorsen
design team: nick anderson, behrang behin, sam brissette, chad carpenter, michael cotton, aroussiak gabrielian, kyle johnson, nick koster, mario mohan, neda mostafavi, anne-rachel schiffmann, carrie tsang, giancarlo valle


EHDD team
principal + president: duncan ballash
project architect: lotte kaefer
project managers: terry reagan, don young, bob reuter, TJ reagan, inc.

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