Tacoma Art Museum is meeting with the Landmarks Preservation Commission on April 24 to seek approval for an approximately 16,000 square foot planned building expansion and renovation. The museum’s new Haub Wing will feature the Haub Family Collection, one of the leading collections of Western American art.
The project will create over 50 percent more gallery space and a more welcoming environment for the community to enjoy and explore the museum’s collections. The significant donation of iconic works by the Haub family, announced in July 2012, will transform Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring Western American art. Designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects, the project has a construction start date of fall 2013 and an opening planned for late 2014.
“We are thrilled by Tom Kundig’s elegant and sensitive design. He has envisioned beautiful new galleries for the spectacular Haub Family Collection as well as gracious new visitor entry spaces. He has given the museum a more prominent street presence along our city’s main thoroughfare, Pacific Avenue, and has been respectful of the award-winning 2003 Antoine Predock building,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “For the community, we will be better able to share the story of Western American art as an integral part of the history of Northwest and American art, in all its richness and complexity. ”
Seattle-based Tom Kundig is one of the most recognized architects in North America. A principal/owner of Olson Kundig Architects, he has received dozens of design awards including some of the USA’s highest design awards—a National Design Award in Architecture Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and an Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Recently inducted into Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame, Kundig is known for his innovative kinetic architectural solutions.
“This is a deeply meaningful project for me, for Olson Kundig Architects, and more importantly for Tacoma and the Northwest,” said Tom Kundig. “The project touches so many spheres—art, civic design, our western heritage—it is thrilling to be involved in the creation of something so meaningful for so many people.”
The design of the new Haub wing derives its aesthetic in part from its elemental simplicity and its use-driven design, taking its cues from pieces of Tacoma’s history including traditional Native American long houses and railroading. The new building will include an interior sculpture hall with high windows that will be shaded with exterior screens along Pacific Avenue. The shades have the scale and form of historic box cars. These screens will modulate interior lighting, shifting into different configurations by rolling on track rails along the top of the building facade.
A new large-scale entry canopy will create a junction between the existing museum and the new wing as a public gathering area and will visibly announce the museum to Tacoma’s bustling cityscape. The adjacent Tollefson Plaza, in particular, was a traditional Native American gathering space. The project continues this tradition by creating a civic gathering place. A pedestrian scaled canopy, seating wall, outdoor artwork, and landscaping will animate Pacific Avenue and attract visitors.
The museum recognizes its place as a connector for Tollefson Plaza, the University of Washington Tacoma corridor, the Prairie Line Trail, and Hood Street. This project aims to continue the city’s goal of activating Pacific Avenue and these important historic and re-imagined elements of the Tacoma landscape.
These versatile, new, and improved public and art spaces will be home to Tacoma Art Museum’s new Haub Family Collection of Western American Art. The museum will be the only Pacific Northwest institution to hold a collection of this caliber, and in turn will provide an entirely new dimension of cultural offerings to Tacoma, expanding the definition of the Northwest’s place in the West.