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10 Things Not to Miss at the New SFMOMA

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From jaw-dropping bathrooms to fake security guards, here's what you need to see when it opens on May 14

Though some may decry the new expansion as a large meringue, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is poised to be one of the most important new constructions of 2015. Curbed SF was there for the preview—wherein we gave it a glowing review, parallels to French desserts be damned—and while we adored the outside, we also have much to say about the goodies inside.

Here are the ten favorite things you shouldn't miss at SFMOMA, open to the public on May 14.. (Note: We'll leave the musings about the artwork on the walls and in the galleries to the art critics.)

The Roman Steps over looking Serra's Sequence (2006)

The addition of maple steps not only contrasts beautifully with Serra's epic piece, but they also provide the perfect place to socialize with fellow museum goers. SFMOMA's previous incarnation didn't have a social gather area as breezy and open as this gem. Expect it to be crowded on weekends.

Living wall

Obviously, the Habitat Horticulture-designed living wall (the largest public one in the U.S.) will be a major draw for the modern art museum. And it's easy to see why: several stories high with over 19,000 plants, it's stunning to behold both outside and inside the building.


Sometimes it's the simple things that tickle the most. Take, for example, SFMOMA's new signage, simple and clean. It's at its most clever on the elevator doors, which double as a map legend when closed.

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Dummy security guard


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Unique colors in the bathrooms

A different color is featured in each floor's public bathroom. Can one be stunned by a bathroom? Oh yes.

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Self Composed

Adobe's wonderful interpretation of a photo booth will be one of the most popular features at the new museum. Personalize your frame with hands, phones, keys, wallet, anything; snap a shot; and then take home your printout. Surprisingly fun.

Seventh floor terrace

Out of the six outdoor terraces at the new SFMOMA, our favorite has to be the seventh floor's Not only will you find stellar views of San Francisco, but can you find Waldo? (Hint: It's across the street and not part of the museum.)

Richard Serra's Sequence (2006)

What fun to see a San Francisco native's work front-and-center inside the museum. This one will get tons of play on Instagram. You've been warned.


New sculptural staircase

Snøhetta new staircase replaces the original 1995 stair brings the old space and the new space together beautifully. It also allows for visitors to look up and see Botta's oculus as well as Alexander Calder's mobile.

The controversial wavy facade

Love it or loathe it, it's going to be the talk of the town and art world for years to come. San Franciscans tend to be predisposed to disliking any structure too oddball, and while we disagree with the wildly intelligent and amusing Oliver Wainwright ("It looks more like a gigantic meringue, a building-sized baked alaska slumped on the skyline," says Wainwright), we eagerly await to hear what San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King has to say. That said, the rippling exterior is downright fun. You be the judge.