Text description provided by the architects. 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 California 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.