Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Not Just a Bunch of Big Black Boxes Down by the Riverfront: The NEW Tampa Museum of Art


If you look at the photo, there would be no way you'd guess what you're looking at. Yes, big tall office buildings against the sky. But what is the black thing in the foreground. Well, it's our new art museum that is currently under construction. In 2006, the architect Stanley Saitowitz from San Francisco, CA, was selected to design a new Tampa Museum of Art. It is now well out of the ground and making a strong statement in downtown Tampa's Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. It's scheduled to open early next year. The original Tampa Museum of Art, which opened in 1979, sat behind Curtis Hixon Hall, Tampa's convention center, on the Hillsborough River. The building was razed in February last year and is being replaced by this 66,000-square-foot facility. These photographs show it from two angles as it rises up on its Hillsborough River-front location. The round limestone building above right, is the Rivergate Tower and headquarters to the Sykes Corporation. The other office buildings visible from left to right are the SunTrust, Verizon, Colonial Bank and Bank of America. The round building was designed by architect Harry Wolf to symbolize a lighthouse and is a distinctive element on our city's skyline. It's probably one of Tampa's most important buildings architecturally. The new art museum is certainly another interesting and unusual design that came about after a long and at times contentious debate and selection process that resulted in this final design by San Francisco architect Stanley Saitowitz. The exterior is being covered in pierced aluminum. . You are able to see the construction progress on the TMA WEBCAM. From the WEBCAM view, which faces to the north, the museum is on the left closest to the river and the Glazer Children's Museum, which is also under construction, is on the right. The museum will feature five interior galleries, one exterior sculpture gallery, and an educational classroom. The architect, Stanley Saitowitz, is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and a principal of Natoma Architects Inc. in San Francisco. He is the recipient of number of awards. His completed projects include the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, the Capp Street Artist Workshop, the San Francisco Embarcadero Promenade, the Coffee Pavilion at Stanford University, the Oxbow Art School in Napa, and several residences. He has taught at a number of schools and has lectured extensively in the USA, and abroad.
His design is tough to visualize from a photograph but it is definitely taking more of it final form as the exterior is being covered. The angle I shot from at the corner closest to the river showing tall downtown buildings rising up behind it obviously provides a stark, but intended contrast. The smaller shot from the opposite bank for the river shows the full width and relationship to the Hillsborough River. As its construction moves along I will update you on its progress and show more architectural details as they are applied.

4 comments:

Lois said...

You're right, I never would have guessed. It certainly is impressive! I like the angle of the first shot.

Jacob said...

How come you get all the good stuff and all we get are painted horses and Baptist churches?

Don and Krise said...

It definitely makes a presence. I cant' wait to see more as it gets closer to completion.

Hilda said...

It sure does look like a bunch of black boxes right now. Hope it looks much better when it's done.