Asian Art Museum Expansion and Renovation

Seattle, Washington

Project Size:

New area: 13,000 square feetRenovated area: 53,000 square feet

Project Status:

Anticipated Completion 2019

The first substantial renovation and expansion of this iconic 1930’s Art Deco museum is central to protection of the collections and enhancing engagement with the arts. This transformation is evidenced in a new addition and a transparent element that connects the activity within the museum to the community activity in Olmsted’s Volunteer Park. Long overdue, the goal is to ensure this historic landmark remains an important cultural resource for future generations.

Site and Program
In addition to essential system enhancements (HVAC, fire safety, and seismic upgrades), the project includes a pair of small building expansions, and a proposed new terrace overlooking the east lawn. A glass park lobby addition to the east facade improves circulation through the galleries and provides direct visual connections to the park. This three-story addition will include space for a new gallery, education space and relocated administrative offices. In addition to other improvements, work involves preserving the historic character of the building and restoring elements that have been compromised through years of incremental renovations.

The architectural design approach to the Bebb and Gould-designed Art Deco building parallels the curatorial goals, which seek to create relevance and meaning between the past and the present. Simultaneously, the design is focused on strengthening the relationship between the building and the park—from the outside in and the inside out.

The planned changes will enable the museum to showcase more of its permanent collection and bring in significant special exhibitions offering ever-broader perspectives on Asia’s traditions and contemporary issues. The project will provide more space for deeper explorations of the diverse artistic and cultural traditions of Asia while enhancing visitors’ enjoyment and access to public programming and community events.