Crocker Art Museum / Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects

© Bruce Damonte

The Crocker Art Museum has completed construction of a 125,000 sqf expansion designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects (GSAA). The Teel Family Pavilion more than triples the museum’s current size and enhances its role as a cultural resource for and the state’s many visitors. One of GSSA co-founder Charles Gwathmey’s last major public projects, the Crocker Art Museum expansion complements the 125-year-old museum’s historic structures, which includes one of the first purpose-built art museum buildings in the United States.

Architect: Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects
Location: 216 O Street, Sacramento, California,
Project Team: Charles Gwathmey (FAIA), Robert Siegel (FAIA), Gerald Gendreau (AIA), Zachary Moreland (AIA, LEED AP)
Structural Engineer: CYS Structural Engineers
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer: Affiliated Engineers
Civil Engineer: Morton & Pitalo
Landscape Architect: MTW Group
Lighting: Hillman DiBernardo Leiter Castelli
Acoustical: Charles M Salter Associates
Theater & Audio Visual: The Shalleck Collaborative
Security: Architect’s Security Group
Graphics & Signs: Selbert Perkins Design Collaborative
General contractor: Rudolph & Sletten Inc.
Project Area: 129,791 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Bruce Damonte

© Bruce Damonte

In addition to extensive new galleries for temporary exhibitions and the display of the Crocker’s permanent collection, The Teel Pavilion includes expanded educational and art studio space, a teacher resource center, a space for participatory arts programming for children and adults, an expanded library, and a new student exhibition space and teaching galleries. The Anne and Malcolm Henry Works on Paper Study Center greatly improves access for visiting scholars studying the Crocker’s outstanding master drawings collection, and for the public. The expansion also provides space for onsite collections care and storage, as well as a new conservation lab. New public amenities, including a 260-seat auditorium, a café with indoor and outdoor seating, and a redesigned Museum Store, have also been added. The first floor is open to the public free of charge and free Wi-Fi will be available.

© Bruce Damonte

Project architect Gerald Gendreau said, “The design for the new Crocker Art Museum is about adding to the urban collage — complementing the historic Art Gallery building, tying to the green space that fronts the Museum, even engaging travelers on the adjacent highway — all while giving the Museum flexible spaces for growth now and into the future.”

© Bruce Damonte

GSAA’s compositional strategy for the project was aimed at establishing a uniquely iconic presence for the new addition, while framing the existing complex in a coherent physical dynamic. The result is a collaged image for both the new and historic structures: the new addition is rotated on a due north/south axis, disengaging it from the existing orthogonal street grid and Crocker complex, which reinforces its contrapuntal siting and massing; inside, the new galleries are directly connected to the existing Art Gallery building, allowing for a continuous circulation from the new to the old structures—both vertically and horizontally—and totally integrating the entire complex. GSAA’s signature approach—collaborative, site-specific, sensitive to the needs of the client–helped bring together all these diverse elements as scheduled to bring the renovated Crocker on par with new museum architecture around the world.

© Bruce Damonte

The Teel Pavilion’s extensive new galleries allows the Crocker to exhibit significantly more of its permanent collection, which has grown by more than 50% in the past decade. The museum’s inaugural exhibitions focused on showcasing its current collection and promised gifts, in collecting areas including California Impressionism, California Abstract Expressionism, Asian art, and ceramics. The Crocker can also now debut two new collections: African and Oceanic Art.

© Bruce Damonte

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Cite: "Crocker Art Museum / Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects" 29 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Jay

    Villaraigosa just called. LA wants its Getty Center back.

    • Josh Mings

      Seriously? Look at both projects and then see if you can say the same thing. When looking at the overall project they are vastly different. Stylistically they are similar because Gwathmey and Meier were part of the New York Five.

      Quit looking at style and focus on the overall project.

      • S

        are u sure u can see will with your eyes ! its the same and please stop justifying $hit with $hit

  • fami

    richard meier school , but there is only one meier

  • Cadu

    This is Richard Meier!!!
    Or… am I mistaken?

  • gab xiao

    Wow! What a corny building! Is this 2011?…

  • zack

    You are right lets focus on the overall…HORRID!

  • ACe

    puke !!!!

  • Josh Mings

    @S That was quite uncalled for, but yes I can see quite clearly. Thank you for asking about my ocular health. Now when you break down the buildings, one is a complex of buildings situated on a hillside in LA, and the other is a singular building in the middle of downtown Sacramento. Stylistically, yes they are the same. That is why style is a bad word in architecture, because so many people focus on it without looking at the larger picture.

    If you are going to say that any building is similar to this, it would be Gwathmey’s own Tangeman University Center at U of Cincinnati. When you look at that project and the third picture down on this one, the formal moves are quite similar. And S, I fail to see how I am justifying “s**t with s**t” when I have presented my case with nothing but facts. I guess I need to state my case as “PUKE” from now on.

  • orlando

    It really looks like a job from the other guy in the “5′s group”

    No matter what, it stills being the same architecture we’ve seen since they appeared