written by:
April 28, 2016
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.

Working with the original Mario Botta-designed building, the ten-story expansion includes a new dedication to providing communal outdoor spaces. This includes 170,000 square feet of new and renovated indoor and outdoor galleries dedicated to the museum’s cherished collections.

Courtesy of 
1 / 12

The facade owes its sculptural nature to a series of locally produced slabs that were pieced together intricately in a way that makes them look as if they’re undulating. Built with the expertise of Kreysler and Associates, Snøhetta's design was inspired by San Francisco’s surrounding waters and the maritime climate that defines the city. Kreysler and Associates utilized their experience with unconventional materials to build about 700 installable composite panels that are lightweight and fire-resistant.

2 / 12

Since every panel is different, a polystyrene protective mold was built for each unit, which also assisted in storage and transportation during installation. Fabricated in San Francisco, the FRP (standing for fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels have the look of reflective concrete due to the fact that silicate crystals from the nearby Monterey County are imbedded into the surface.

3 / 12

Two aspects that the morning’s speakers were ecstatic to share included the facts that they’re offering free access to the ground-floor galleries—45,000 square feet to be exact—as well as free admission to visitors 18 and under. The new entrance features Richard Serra’s epic sculpture Sequence, which was created in 2006.

4 / 12

Throughout the new space, maple-clad stairs lead visitors to the different galleries. Each one is unique and is flooded with natural light that streams through windows from various directions.

5 / 12

Standing proud in one of the outdoor spaces is Alexander Calder’s Big Crinkly, an animated painted metal sculpture from 1969. Visitors can wander freely around this piece in an area that’s framed by a wall of lush greenery. 

6 / 12

A number of outdoor terraces allow for visitors to take a refreshing rest between galleries. Sculptural structures form a curated and fluent experience, as seen above. 

7 / 12

In a special area dedicated to design and architecture, we came across the exhibition titled Carve, Cast, Mold, Print: Material Meditations. It's defined by a study of forward-thinking seating designs that each focus on an interesting use of a singular material and process.

8 / 12

In an adjacent room, various forms of experimental architecture are explored with renderings, sculptures, models, and sketches. Shown here is Neil M. Denari’s model for Prototype House, Tokyo, created from 1992 to 1993. Though this design was never actually built, it represented his idea of creating “living machines” as a solution to confined urban living. 

9 / 12

On view until October 2nd is a sculptural and layered exhibit by Leonor Antunes, a Portuguese artist who explores the effects that memory and time have on an experience. She utilized an intriguing mix of materials including leather, nylon yarn, hemp rope, cork, stainless steel, and brass.

10 / 12

Another experiential room included Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing 273. Originally imagined by LeWitt in 1975, the intersecting lines were drawn on the walls with graphite and crayon. With a set of instructions on how to apply the design, it was devised to be implemented into any location and to respond to different light and dimensions. Thus, these lines will be painted over when the exhibition ends.

11 / 12

It just so happens that today was sunny as could be, and the atrium that marks the center of the building was taking it all in. The sculptural design features a bridge connecting two different gallery floors and a series of geometric windows that create a playful collection of shadows.

12 / 12
img 8652

Working with the original Mario Botta-designed building, the ten-story expansion includes a new dedication to providing communal outdoor spaces. This includes 170,000 square feet of new and renovated indoor and outdoor galleries dedicated to the museum’s cherished collections.

The incredible new space was designed by Snøhetta, a multidisciplinary creative studio that focuses on collaborative projects in the worlds of architecture, landscape, and brand design. For them, it’s all about a sense of place, and this project was no exception as the culture of San Francisco was taken into account throughout the entire process.

The morning kicked off with speeches from a couple of the Board of Trustee's members as well as a final welcoming from Ruth Berson, the Deputy Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs. Additionally, we were excited to hear some behind-the-scenes insight from Snøhetta's founding partner Craig Dykers. As the lead behind the design, he explained his dedication to creating an intimate space that really connects with its visitors and its host city. He pointed out that each floor holds its own experience with a unique layout that includes sensory engagement, comfortable viewing areas, and various connections to the outdoors. He finished his speech by urging us to "take the stairs, please!” As we were prompted to begin wandering around on our own, the reasoning behind this request became clear, as each and every stairway is a work of art on its own. 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016