Seattle Art Museum
Allied Works has made a major expansion and renovation of the Seattle Art Museum. The museum currently occupies a 150,000 ft2 building designed in the late 1980’s by Robert Venturi.
Situated on the edge of Seattle’s historic and high-rise districts, the museum shares the block with a new forty-story commercial tower. Through a phased expansion, it will grow vertically within the building volume over a period of twenty years.
Planning for the growth of the institution and the collection required innovation to accommodate spaces with dramatically differing use and character while maintaining the unity of the architectural expression. Floor plates may be reconfigured and the stainless steel and glass building envelope ‘tuned’ in response to changing spatial demands and qualities of light.
The new expansion will redefine the relationship between the Museum, the collection, and the city. Separation between art and the public realm is dramatically reduced – views into the gallery levels guide visitors to the collection and temporary exhibits bring an ever-changing array of work to street level. Ascension through the galleries is facilitated and enriched with open circulation and views that return to the city at each level, incorporating the landscape into the experience of the collection.
The expansion provides additional public, exhibition and curatorial space while respecting the character and integrity of the existing structure. As it enters the 21st Century, the Museum has an opportunity to realign its facilities to exhibit its remarkable collection, and to establish and develop a new presence in the cultural landscape of the city.