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Asian Art Museum Releases Renderings of Massive New Expansion

If it works, a careful modern update on a classic building

San Francisco’s biggest cultural institutions seem to have hit a growth spurt lately, and the Asian Art Museum wants to get in on the action with a 12,000 foot expansion announced back in March.

Since 200 Larkin Street is a historic building that’s been home to several landmark institutions (before the museum, it was the site of the Main Library), the city will demand a delicate hand from the chosen architects, New York and LA-based wHY.

First stop: the Architectural Review Committee, a subgroup of the Historic Preservation Commission, which will review wHY’s initial proposal this Wednesday. The pitch as-is calls for a one-story vertical addition, a big, spidery canopy, some minor alterations to existing, non-historical parts of the building, and possibly a roof terrace.

Note that these renderings below may not reflect the final plan.

"The terrace will only be pursued if we identify funding," Tim Hallman, the museum’s director of business development, tells Curbed SF. "[We haven’t] yet, but we’re including it in the proposal to keep that option open."

Museum board members put up most of the $25 million price tag themselves. Hallman says that the new designs are meant to be a riff on existing building elements, like the vaulted ceiling and Roman cross windows.

Construction is tentatively set for 2017.

(Two proposed versions of the facade.)