Which New Art Museums are (Re)opening in 2016?

December 28, 2015

Building museums, especially art museums, is a perfect medium for architectural expression. In 2015 a few precious additions were made to the list - The Whitney Museum in New York, The Broad in Los Angeles, and Len Lye Center in New Zealand. Nevertheless, the museums that are about to open in 2016 are not only going to be representative buildings, but are also accompanied by other features that add to their spatial characteristics.

museums opening 2016
UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive - Diller Scofidio + Renfro. © Iwan Baan

Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

The new home for Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive opens on January 21, 2016. BAM/PFA is ready for its first exhibition - Architecture of Life - in the new building, right across the UC Berkeley campus. The authentic design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (authors of the previously mentioned Broad in LA), with EHDD as the executive architect, is a refined fusion of the old and the new – old being the original Art Deco printing building, and the new is made manifest through the adaptive reuse of the building. The original building has a total surface of 48000 sq ft, and the redesign of the existing structure provides an area for eight individual gallery spaces. In addition to this, the new design provides another 35000 sq ft, while preserving the original features of the old building (the sawtooth roof, which enables the privilege of natural daylight). With reference to the contemporary cinema culture it is dedicated to, the new museum also provides two state-of-the-art film theaters and an exterior LED screen for outdoor screenings. The center aims to integrate art and film under the same roof, and will become a new social and cultural hub for the entire region, as Charles Renfro explains.

museums opening 2016
Left: SFMOMA, © MIR and Snøhetta / Right: SFMOMA, © Henrik Kam, courtesy of SFMOMA.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Apart from being an interesting example of one architect upgrading the other architect’s work, the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is promised to be the largest museum of contemporary art in America. The reopening is scheduled for May 14, 2016. The unique postmodern design of the original building, signed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta in 1995, was not an easy base to start with. Norway – based architectural firm Snøhetta undertook this task, and made an addition to the façade out of a white sedimentary structure that seems to resemble a natural, almost arbitrary pattern. They added a 235,000-square-foot, ten-story expansion to this building, which will make the total footage measure about 460,000 square feet (42, 700 square metres). The museum’s new wing will host 260 of 600 artworks promised in a 100-year loan from the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, and about 3000 new acquisitions will be added by the museum to its collections, from multiple donors.

museums opening 2016
New Tate Modern previews - © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

New Tate Modern

It is certainly not easy to follow all the trends in contemporary art, and it seeks appropriate spatial capacities as well. In order to present an even greater variety of artwork, particularly aiming to include more international artists, Tate Modern is building a new addition in London. Its ten-story building emerges out of The Tanks, which was made with the idea to be the first gallery space to host live art, film and installations. The height of the new Tate will coincide with the height of the 99m tall chimney of the existing Tate Modern building, which was designed as an adaptation of a power station built in 1950. The top floor will provide a panoramic view of the city, thus the new Tate will not only be a memorable addition to London’s skyline, but its new ‘eye’ as well. The authors of the building are Herzog and de Meuron, who are familiar with the task, having previously designed the original Tate Modern building back in 1995.

museums opening 2016
Louvre, Abu Dhabi - Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by the prominent architect Jean Nouvel, was meant to be fully operative on Saadiyat Island by now, since its opening was scheduled for 2012. It is now set to open in the second half of 2016, and it seems that the installation of the collections will take up to three months after the building has been finished. Nevertheless, it will certainly be worth while, since The Emirates are reported to still be buying work to fill the building, meaning that it will contain a comprehensive art collection. Since the opening date is not accurately announced yet and the appetites are rising, a series of small exhibitions previewing some of the acquisitions will be held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat cultural centre. There are some speculations that the opening date might be December 2, which is also the National Day in the UAE.

Featured images: Louvre Abu Dhabi, courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel; Tate Modern extension, photo by Hayes Davidson, courtesy of Herzog & De Meuron; SFMOMA, photo by Henrik Kam, courtesy of SFMOMA; UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive - Diller Scofidio + Renfro. © Iwan Baan.

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