SFMOMA’s leadership worked closely with Snøhetta to design the new museum as an outward- looking and engaging gathering space. Connections to the surrounding neighborhood and city were carefully considered, along with bringing the benefits of landscape and the outdoors to the museum spaces. New pedestrian pathways around the museum and a new public entrance on Howard Streetbetter integrate SFMOMA into the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood and activate the surrounding streetscape. The iconic eastern façade of the Snøhetta-designed expansion, inspired in part by the waters and fog of the San Francisco Bay, is comprised of more than 700 uniquely shaped and locally fabricated FRP (fiberglass reinforced polymer) panels. Throughout the day, the movement of light and shadow naturally animates the rippled surface. Silicate crystals from Monterey County embedded in the surface catch and reflect the changing light. Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta and leader of the firm’s design team for SFMOMA, said, “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. 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”.
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