Two of the world’s most important contemporary art museums have major new expansions as brilliant as the works housed within. Here’s how they stack up.
Opening date: May 14. Architect: Snøhetta.
The Look: A new 10-story building that doubles the size of the original museum, with a facade of rippling fiberglass panels embedded with silicate crystals that evokes the shimmering ripples of San Francisco Bay. Cost: US$305 million. Size: 22,000 square meters.
New Highlights: The soaring-ceilinged White Box performance space; the Pritzker Center for Photography, now the largest photography-devoted space at any American art museum; an indoor sculpture gallery and outdoor sculpture terrace; In Situ restaurant, headed by chef Corey Lee from the city’s Michelin-starred Benu. Seminal Works: Sequence, Richard Serra; Femme au chapeau, Mattisse; No. 14, Mark Rothko; four galleries devoted to Ellsworth Kelly. Claim to Fame: SFMOMA now ranks as the largest contemporary art museum in the United States.
Opening Date: June 17. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron.
The Look: Joining the Tate’s Turbine Hall and Boiler House on the Thames-side site of London’s decommissioned Bankside Power Station, the angular Switch House is clad in brick lattice inspired by the station’s original masonry. Cost: US$375 million. Size: 20,700 square meters. New Highlights: The transformation of underground oil tanks into performance spaces; galleries dedicated to showcasing the 1,600-piece contemporary collection gifted to the museum by Anthony D’Offay; a restaurant, shop, and bar; two street-level green spaces and a roof terrace overlooking the London skyline. Seminal Works: The Three Dancers, Pablo Picasso; Babel, Clido Meireles; Embryology, Magdalena Abakanowicz. Claim to Fame: Hailed as Britain’s most important new cultural building of the 21st century.
This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Double Vision”).