The SFMOMA Shortlist: We Can Dream

Friday, March 19, 2010

IwamotoScott has done installations inside buildings, like Voussoir Cloud, pictured. What if they did the actual building?

The upcoming $480 million SFMOMA expansion is a big deal, and the names that have been bruited about are certainly Big Names. But you can also hear the rumblings: Why no local firms? And especially why so few women in the mix?

There’s reason to hope that the names mentioned so far are still tentative, and that there’s a chance that the official shortlist, due in May, can remedy these shortcomings.

Ideally, there would have been an open competition to bring in a broad spectrum of talent. (Renzo Piano, after all, won an international competition to design the Centre Georges Pompidou when he was in his thirties.)  But since that’s not going to happen, what about inviting some of our local firms to take a shot at it? As the San Francisco editor of AN, here’s a few I think could do us proud in tryouts:

Aidlin Darling. This rising firm’s elevation of an old warehouse building (355 11th St.  in San Francisco) into a modern sculpture bodes well for what they could do with an actual museum space.

Anne Fougeron. The most prominent female architect in the city,  Fougeron does classic modernism, but with a twist that feels uniquely Californian, like the JFR house in Big Sur.  She likes to use slatting, which would be a refreshing counterpoint to all that brick.

IwamotoScott. They’re known for their conceptual, not built works. But installations like “Voussoir Cloud” give rise to fantasies about wandering through galleries like clouds.

Ogrydziak/Prillinger. They have some very strange, interesting buildings, like the Gallery House they designed for an art-collector couple. Imagine the Botta being attacked by salt-crystal deposits.

Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works. Ok, he’s based in Portland, but his renewal of 2 Columbus Circle for the Museum of Arts & Design in NYC is delicate and amazing: ribbons of windows run down the wall and along the floor as translucent strips of glass.

If you were Neal Benezra, who would you grant an audience to?

8 Responses to “The SFMOMA Shortlist: We Can Dream”

  1. Devin says:

    what about Thom Faulders of Faulders Studio?

  2. astrid says:

    IwamotoScott is the way to go. It’s time for a real building from them. Watch out, San Francisco, and your local talent will leave for greener pastures…

  3. Meghan says:

    Um, Stanley Saitowitz? I love all these firms, including Thom Faulders, but except for Allied Works (c’mon if were going to talk about Portland, why rule out LA?), to my knowledge, Anne Fougeron is the only one who has designed an urban project remotely of the scale of the SFMOMA addition (Parkview Terrace w/Kwan Hemni).

    I’m all for giving innovative, emerging practices opportunities to spread their wings, but one needs to be realistic. This is a very complex project and experience will matter.

  4. ryan says:

    It would be a shame not to include Saitowitz … especially after seeing images of the tampa art musuem. I agree with Meghan about the scale and reality of this project…. however, a very unique local partnership could be the BEST way to go. I think faulders and Iwamoto are a bit too trendy for this commission though … I’d place my money with fougeron, darling or Saitowitz … it will be really interesting to see how this plays out, the existing building is such a tomb or vault for art, I want to see something really open that contrasts this.

  5. owen says:

    The site is woven through the city fabric connecting alleys, streets and existing buildings. It needs soulful and clever planning, not ornamental surface play. Saitowitz, Jennings, Fougeron, Cavagnero, or Mark Jensen could all deliver. Get an exceptional landscape team on board early too – Marta Fry, Gary Strang, Hargreaves, CMG to name a few great local talents.

  6. Dustin says:

    Does anyone know how this decision is being made/ awarded? I’m perturbed it’s not going to a local firm.

  7. […] unlikely. The Architect’s Newspaper’s San Francisco editor Lydia Lee published her dream list of local architects, including techno-conceptualists like IwamotoScott and Ogrydziak/Prillinger. But the museum’s […]

  8. […] unlikely. The Architect’s Newspaper’s San Francisco editor Lydia Lee published her dream list of local architects, including techno-conceptualists like IwamotoScott and Ogrydziak/Prillinger. But the museum’s […]

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