Well now, aren't we prescient? Back in 1999, some group of higher-ups at SF MOMA (i.e. The Board) began to formulate a collective vision while planning for the museum's then-new parking garage on Minna Street: What if SFMOMA could create 14,400 square feet of exhibition space by building a garden atop the building? Nine years later, that tentative plan has come full circle, as the museum recently broke ground on the project. In keeping with the SoMa leitmotif, glass figures prominently in Jensen Architects' design for the addition— it will visibly alter the exterior of the main building while connecting to the fifth floor galleries via a glass-encased walkway, thus providing for both indoor and outdoor exhibition space. The back wall of the fifth floor will be blown out and glassed over, while the entire garden itself will be enclosed by a 13-foot high glass wall that will "[create] a seamless continuum with the urban surroundings, jutting dramatically skyward to provide visual definition to the rooftop location." To the mattresses we go.
What we like:
· The glass walkway has potential: While its vantage point doesn't proffer sweeping vistas,
dirty voyeurs amateur sociologists will still enjoy views of adjacent buildings and the city street below.
· More exhibition space never hurts, especially given SFMOMA's ever-expanding collection and increasingly ambitious public programming. How curators choose to negotiate with 14,000 square feet of exhibition space, however, remains to be seen.
· Simply put, outdoor spaces can be very pleasant to be in, if well done; we look forward to many a rooftop opening. Winds, be damned!
· Cash. Cow. Weddings, corporate clusterfucks, other occasions for fabulousness— there's a new party pad in town, and it's much closer to the night life than Golden Gate park is, if you're picking up what we're putting down.
What we fear:
· Plop art. As if these two words require further qualification, we hear that a bevy of large-scale sculptures are slated for installation within the space. Be careful, MOMA. This city's seen enough carnage as it is. Same goes for the gallery space— consider it wisely, please. Kthanks.
· What's up with those planters? We don't care if it's a garden— they'd better be mobile, unless the museum hopes for many a drunken plunge. Seating? A designated area for performances and video/ film projection? A lap pool? Jensen Architects, there are adjustments to be made. Quite a few, in fact.
· SF MOMA Breaks Ground on Rooftop Garden [press release]
[Images courtesy SF MOMA.]