SFMOMA Selects Norwegian architecture Firm Snøhetta

SFMOMA has selected the architecture firm Snøhetta to be its partner in developing an expansion that enhances the museum's services to the community and its educational, social, and economic role in the city. The decision follows a comprehensive international search and two-year planning process to address the enormous growth of SFMOMA's collections and of audience demand for programming since the museum's move to its current building in 1995. Initial design concepts for the project — Snøhetta's first building on the West Coast of the United States — will be unveiled in the spring of 2011. The current project budget of $480 million includes $250 million for the expansion and $230 million for SFMOMA's endowment to ensure the museum's long-term success.

In a special meeting yesterday, SFMOMA's Board of Trustees enthusiastically welcomed the architect selection committee's recommendation of Snøhetta from among the four short-listed firms announced in May. In addition to Snøhetta, the finalists were Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Foster + Partners. Snøhetta will partner with a local architectural firm to execute the expansion and will join SFMOMA's project team after a contract is completed, pending the Board of Trustees' official ratification of the selection at its September board meeting.

“The distinction and preeminence of all four candidates made this an exceptionally tough decision,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “Yet Snøhetta's dynamic and imaginative body of work demonstrates an outstanding commitment to innovation combined with a solid track record of unique, timely, and fiscally responsible approaches to complex civic and cultural projects. The selection committee was particularly thrilled by the stunning spaces, sophisticated use of materials, and quality of light in Snøhetta's Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, which we feel is one of the great buildings worldwide to be designed and built in the last decade.”

The decision was based on the firm's design philosophy and inspired response to the needs and goals of SFMOMA and the Bay Area community. Snøhetta's sensibility is rooted in a collaborative working style, visionary concept, and environmental sustainability. The firm is committed to designing an expansion and renovations to the existing facility that are both progressive and complementary to the current building.

“Snøhetta's ability to create original cultural buildings that deliver great art experiences makes them a perfect partner for SFMOMA as we work toward our goals for the new space,” said Charles Schwab, chairman of the museum's Board of Trustees. “This project will be an economic stimulus for the city and region, bringing new jobs, fueling the creative economy, and boosting tourism. I am confident that Snøhetta's fresh approach and global mindset will help SFMOMA realize a facility that represents the museum's enduring commitment to the future, to bringing the creative ethos of the Bay Area to the world, and to attracting the most exciting art from around the world to the Bay Area.”

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