Seattle's Asian Art Museum Set to Reopen in Spring 2020

The Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation by LMN Architects and landscape architect Walker Macy is set to open in February next year. The project takes the original, early 20th-century building and brings it up to 21st-century standards. The renovation includes the preservation of the 1933 building and Art Deco front façade and a new glass-enclosed park lobby overlooking the Olmstead-designed Volunteer Park.

© Tim Griffith

The Seattle Asian Art Museum has been closed since early 2017 as the museum’s historic building closed to address critical needs of infrastructure, accessibility, and program space. The $56 million project encompasses both the new park lobby and a new gallery, education studio, conservation center and community meeting room. The renovated and expanded space enables SAM to reimagine its installation of the permanent collection, showcase contemporary Asian art, and put conservation on public view.

One of only a few art museums in North America dedicated exclusively to Asian art, the Asian Art Museum maintains a collection of art from China, Korea, Japan, India, Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. The museum offers a wide range of collection installations as well as special exhibitions and can now expand its program with the addition of a new 2,650-square–foot gallery.

© Tim Griffith

“This is a pivotal moment for SAM and for the city of Seattle,” says Amada Cruz, the newly appointed Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO of SAM. “With the completion of this project, we unveil new spaces to connect the museum’s extraordinary collection of Asian art to our lives and experiences. I’m grateful to the city of Seattle, the staff and supporters of SAM, and especially to my predecessor, Kimerly Rorschach, for seeing this monumental project through.” The project team included general contractor and construction manager BNBuilders, Inc., and construction and project management services from OAC Services, Inc.

© Tim Griffith

The Asian Art Museum’s historic Art Deco building was SAM’s original home and has not been substantially restored or renovated since its construction in 1933. The renovation and expansion project modernizes and preserves the historic building while establishing a new connection to Volunteer Park. The project was funded by a mixture of public and private funds, with a final budget of approximately $56M. Of this funding, $21M comes from the City of Seattle, which owns the building. Additional government support includes $1.5M from the State of Washington and $1.4M from King County. The remaining funds were raised through private support.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens to the public on Feb. 8, 2020.

About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Seattle's Asian Art Museum Set to Reopen in Spring 2020" 03 Oct 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Tim Griffith


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