New Olson Kundig-Designed Wing Opens at Tacoma Art Museum

By William Lamb / Published by Dwell
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The Haub Family Galleries nod to Tacoma's industrial past.

The Tacoma Art Museum in Washington State recently opened its new Haub Family Galleries to the public. The galleries, which added 16,000 square feet to the museum and doubled its gallery space, were designed by Olson Kundig Architects. The $15.5 million project is the firm’s first museum building.

The new Haub Family Galleries at the Tacoma Art Museum, designed by Olson Kundig Architects, adds 16,000 square feet to the museum and doubles its gallery space.

The Haub Family Galleries houses the museum’s Haub Family Collection of Western American Art, which consists of nearly 300 pieces. The design of the building nods to Tacoma’s history of shipping, logging, and railroading through a palette of earthy materials and sliding sun screens fashioned from Richlite, a sustainable material that is made locally from recycled paper, organic fiber, and phenolic resin.

The signature feature of the new addition is an entry canopy that soars 34 feet above the pavement, joining the new addition to the existing building, designed by Antoine Predock. The canopy, which creates an outdoor gathering spot, was made with aluminum grating and stainless-steel panels fashioned from portions of the existing building that were demolished to make way for the new gallery space.

"Architecturally, the challenges became opportunities," Tom Kundig says. "It was an opportunity to create new venues to view art. The design takes into account Tacoma’s diverse and historic neighborhoods. The West doesn’t stop in Wyoming. Tacoma, the ‘City of Destiny,’ was the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and played an important part of the larger story of the West."

The new galleries house the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art, consisting of nearly 300 pieces.

The galleries feature sliding sun screens made from Richlite, a sustainable material that is made locally from recycled paper, organic fiber, and phenolic resin.

The sun screens, which are about 16 feet wide and 17 feet tall, are operated wich a hand wheel and roll across the windows like box-car doors to interlace with a set of fixed screens.

The expansion includes 7,000 square feet of new gallery space, 3,500 square feet of service and mechanical space, and 3,000 square feet of renovations to the existing lobby, bookstore, café, and restrooms.

The sustainable features of the addition include low-maintenance landscaping of adaptive vegetation, low-flow water fixtures, highly efficient mechanical systems, and LED lighting.

The $15.5 million addition is Olson Kundig's first museum project.

William Lamb

@williamlamb

Will Lamb is a writer and editor based in Jersey City, New Jersey. He served as a senior editor at Dwell from 2013 to 2015.

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