Asian Art Museum
An historic library provides a setting for museum galleries.
Architects & Firms
The significant challenge facing the design team was transforming a dark 1917 library into this well-lit museum with gallery space for both permanent and traveling exhibitions. Museum visitors are far more mobile then library patrons, requiring a modified circulation plan. To this end, the central court was given a new floor at ground level, the southeast side of the building now accommodates escalators, and the loggia and galleries open into the central court.
The addition of a skylit floor area at ground level provides a bright space for public gathering. This space accommodates assemblies for tours, entrance lines for special exhibitions, and public events. The central court is bisected by the historic grand staircase and loggia. Openings in the loggia allow views across the central court and from the north gallery wing to the south.
The historic façades are preserved and seismically reinforced with base isolation to defend the fragile displays occupying the majority of the museum, which is protected by the Beaux Arts Civic Center District Planning Code. Base isolation is minimally invasive to the historical fabric of the building while providing excellent protection.
Cabinetwork & custom woodwork:
Exterior Building Lighting: