Tacoma Art Museum unveils design for $15.5M renovation

Tacoma Art Museum officials Thursday unveiled design plans for the museum’s new $15.5 million, 16,000-square-foot building expansion and renovation.

The project includes the Haub Wing, which 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, according to museum officials. The significant donation of iconic works by the Haub family, announced in July, aims to transform Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring Western American art, according to museum officials. 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,” said Tacoma Art Museum Director Stephanie A. Stebich. “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. 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.”

“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, according to museum officials. 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, according to museum officials. 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 Tacoma Art Museum's new $15.5 million expansion and renovation will include a new wing for the Haub Family Collection. (IMAGE COURTESY TACOMA ART MUSEUM)