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4 July 2013

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Expansion

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is undergoing a massive expansion to house new collections for drawing more visitors. The $610m expansion will transform the SFMOMA building into a top class venue of modern and contemporary art.
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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Expansion

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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is undergoing a massive expansion to house new collections for drawing more visitors. The $610m expansion will transform the SFMOMA building into a top class venue of modern and contemporary art.

The new SFMOMA building is designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta. The new building will allow the display of expanded SFMOMA collection and the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, when it opens in early 2016.

SFMOMA expansion project details

"The new SFMOMA building is designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta."

The current 225,000ft² building of SFMOMA consists of 59,500ft² of galleries including the 14,700ft² rooftop garden that was completed in 2010. The expansion will provide additional indoor gallery and public area, as well as public and support areas offering larger and more advanced preservation facilities.

Snøhetta was selected by SFMOMA’s architect selection committee in 2010. Snøhetta teamed up with local firms EHDD Architecture and Webcor Builders to carry out the expansion. The detailed design and expansion programme details were unveiled in November 2011.

Construction is being carried out in phases; ground was broken for the first phase in May 2013, while the project is scheduled for completion in early 2016. The SFMOMA’s exhibitions and programmes have been moved off site during the construction period.The current building was temporarily closed to the public in June 2013. The exhibitions, site-specific installations, outdoor delegations and local festivals will be conducted around the Bay Area and outside during construction.

Design and facilities of the art museum building

Developed in response to cater the unique demands of the site, the new design of the expansion meets the museum’s purpose, and fortifies SFMOMA’s involvement with the city. The design of the interior spaces combines the existing building and the new expansion into a single unlined facility.

The 225,000ft² expansion will provide a new structure spanning from Minna to Howard Streets. It will offer public entrances on Minna and Howard in addition to the existing entrance on Third Street. A mid-block pedestrian promenade stretching from Howard Street to Natoma will serve as a new public entrance.


Related project


De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, United States of America

Founded originally in 1895, the De Young Museum is located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, assessment of the existing building concluded that it was vulnerable to future tremors. The building was subsequently braced, but concerns remained about the safety of the building. Travelling exhibitions frequently failed to consider De Young as a possible venue, especially as Federal insurance had been withheld.


The new building will feature ten levels, of which seven will serve as programming spaces, and three will be used as support spaces for the museum’s operations. Conservation studios will be built on the seventh and eighth floors. The design will more than double the capacity of SFMOMA.

Around 142,000ft² of indoor and outdoor space will be dedicated to gallery presentation and 15,000ft² of free-access public space will be filled with art.

The new sculpture terrace on the level three will include a large-scale vertical garden with native plants in San Francisco. The glass-walled gallery at ground floor will present art for passersby at free of cost. The building will include a double-height "white box" space on the fourth floor. The space will feature lighting and sound systems to support live performances, school-group tours, film screenings, and special events.

SFMOMA façades

The expanded structure will be 50ft higher than the adjacent Botta building. The east side of the new SFMOMA building will have a sweeping façade and an entrance area. The building facing the Howard Street will include a glass façade providing views of street-level gallery.

Sustainability features of the new San Francisco Museum of Art building

"The new building will display the expanded SFMOMA collection and the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection."

The building will be constructed and operated using environmentally friendly measures to obtain LEED Gold certification. The aim is to achieve a 15% cost reduction in energy consumption, 30% water-use reduction, and 20% cost reduction in waste-water generation.

Financing for the SFMOMA expansion

SFMOMA launched the capital campaign to transform the museum, in early 2010. The fund collection goal of the campaign to expand SFMOMA is $610m, of which $245m will be allocated for the museum’s endowment. The campaign raised $545m by June 2013.

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