SFMOMA, in collaboration with the architecture firm Snøhetta, is completing a transformational expansion that incorporates and renovates the museum’s existing Mario Botta–designed building, which debuted in 1995. The new museum will accommodate the significant growth of SFMOMA’s collection, program and visitorship. The expansion nearly triples the museum’s gallery space, including nearly 45,000 square feet of free public-access space and weaves SFMOMA into its urban setting as never before.
The project was conceived to create a more open and welcoming SFMOMA, with the volume of the expansion rising up behind the Botta building and stretching the full city block from Minna Street to Howard Street. This placement activates existing mid-block streets as pedestrian pathways and opens up new entrances, deeply integrating the museum into the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, including nearby Yerba Buena Gardens and the Moscone Center. Two entrances on Third and Howard Streets connect visitors to free ground-floor exhibition spaces that include a presentation of Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture Sequence (2006) in the Roberts Family Gallery, where the museum will present commissioned works in the future. A reconfigured entrance on Minna Street welcomes school groups to the Koret Education Center, as well as visitors attending performances in the Phyllis Wattis Theater and the White Box performance and installation space. The pathways from all three public entrances converge at the second-floor Helen and Charles Schwab Hall, a spacious gathering place with views to an outdoor sculpture terrace and the museum’s new vertical garden, the largest living wall of native plants in the Bay Area. In Schwab Hall, visitors may pass from the free ground-floor exhibition spaces into the upper floors of ticketed galleries for the permanent collection and special exhibitions.