Project's Summary

Seattle Asian Art Museum Renovation and Expansion Project

LMN Architects has completed the renovation and expansion of the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which harmonizes with the 1933 Bebb and Gould designed Art Deco building. The project was concurrently composed to integrate into the Olmsted designed landscape of Volunteer Park. The renovation and expansion reaffirms the original character of the Fuller Garden Court as the central hub of the museum which not only provides access to the gallery spaces but also establishes a sense of expectation that is reinforced by the two new portals that open to the Park Lobby.

Seamless Integration of Building and Park

The design represents the seamless integration of the building’s spectacular site with the museum’s mission for the 21st century: to showcase Asian art in conjunction with contemporary educational and conservation spaces. A set of steps lead to the Art Deco lobby entrance on the west side of the building. Once inside, the Entry Lobby connects to the Fuller Garden Court and unfolds into the new Park Lobby. All three spaces create a new circulation spine joining the building with the park, and the park with the building. The new lobby is the vertical connector to the program spaces and is composed mostly of glass, giving the impression that the space is floating in the landscape.

Functional and Aesthetic Upgrades

The renovation provided daylighting to the octagonal galleries using light boxes built into the ceiling that emulate natural daylight while providing the museum with a modern lighting system. This artificial lighting allows the museum to set the stage for new art, better preserve their collection, and provide newfound flexibility for future displays. The building components and the interior spaces have been renovated and organized to maximize program space and functionality as well as take advantage of their own tectonic identity. In addition to the facade restoration work, major upgrades were completed to the walls, floors, and ceiling elements in the existing galleries to modernize the space to be structurally sound and meet code requirements.

Honoring Tradition, Exploring Diversity

The Seattle Asian Art Museum honors and preserves the architectural legacy of the historic building and integrity of the park while providing space for deeper explorations of the diverse, artistic, and cultural traditions of Asia. The new addition of a dedicated community education space provides visitors enjoyment and access to public programming and community events. The new expanded and renovated gallery space enables the museum to showcase more of its permanent collection and attract special exhibitions offering broader perspectives on Asia’s traditions and contemporary issues. Reflecting a complex organization of requirements, the museum integrates nature, architecture, history, and art in a poetic and intimate scale. The completed renovation and expansion project is a testament to LMN Architects' commitment to preserving the past while creating spaces that reflect the present and inspire the future.

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