Asian Art Museum Expansion and Renovation

Seattle, Washington

Project Size:

New area: 13,905 square feetRenovated area: 50,345 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2019


Civic Design, Interior Design


LMN Architects Enhances Art Deco Beauty of the Seattle Asian Art Museum

Interior Design, 02/25/2020

The Renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum Mixes Art Deco and Contemporary Design

NUVO, 02/10/2020

The Seattle Asian Art Museum Reopens with a Vital New Expansion

GRAY Magazine, 02/07/2020

The Seattle Asian Art Museum Reopens After $56 Million Renovation

ARTFORUM, 02/07/2020

Art déco Seattle Asian Art Museum gagne une extension modern

Newstrotteur, 02/07/2020

Seattle Asian Art Museum

ArchDaily, 02/07/2020

Reapertura Del Museo de Arte Asiático de Seattle por LMN Architects

Metalocus, 02/07/2020

SAAM reestablishes its connection to Volunteer Park

Daily Journal of Commerce, 02/06/2020

Музей азиатского искусства в Сиэтле открылся после расширения и реконструкции

AD Russia, 02/05/2020

El museo de Arte Asiatico de Seattle: naturaleza, historia y arquitectura

AD España, 02/04/2020

LMN Architects Celebrates the Reopening of the Seattle Asian Art Museum

The Registry, 02/04/2020

Sneak peek: Seattle's Asian Art Museum unveils renovations ahead of reopening

Puget Sound Business Journal, 02/04/2020

LMN Architects Unveils Reimagined Seattle Asian Art Museum

Hypebeast, 02/04/2020

Seattle Asian Art Museum to Reopen After $56 Million Renovation

The New York Times, 02/03/2020

Seattle Asian Art Museum to reopen after LMN Architects revamp

CLADnews, 02/03/2020

Seattle's Asian Art Museum Completes a Major Restoration and Expansion

Architectural Digest, 02/03/2020

LMN Architects creates sensitive addition for Asian art museum in Seattle

DEZEEN, 02/03/2020

Seattle’s art deco Asian Art Museum gains a modern extension

Wallpaper, 02/03/2020

LMN Architects reveals newly renovated Seattle Asian Art Museum

The Architect’s Newspaper, 02/03/2020

Seattle Asian Art Museum's $56m expansion reframes the question: ‘What is Asian art?’

The Art Newspaper, 02/03/2020

Pacific Rim Calling: Seattle’s Asian Art Museum Gets a Revamp

Metropolis Magazine, 11/12/2019

Asian Art Museum's $54M Renovation/Expansion

The Registry, 04/26/2018

LMN Architects Begins Renovation on Seattle's Asian Art Museum

Bustler, 04/09/2018

LMN Architects Release Plans For Renovation And Expansion Of The Asian Art Museum In Seattle

World Architecture, 04/05/2018

Asian Art Museum in Seattle Breaks Ground on Renovation Designed by LMN Architects

Dexigner, 03/28/2018

Construction Begins on Seattle Asian Art Museum Expansion

Curbed Seattle, 03/14/2018

Renovation of the Seattle Asian Art Museum Begins

ARCHITECT, 03/13/2018

Seattle Art Museum's Asian Art Museum Reveals Plans for Renovation and Expansion

Art Daily, 09/15/2017

Selected Awards

2020 AIA

Northwest and Pacific Region Design Awards, Merit Award

2020 AIA

Seattle Chapter Honor Awards, Honorable Mention

2020 AN Best of Design Awards

Renovation, Editors' Picks

2020 Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards

Best Design North America, Honorable Mention

2020 Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards

Best Design Cities, Honorable Mention

2020 AL Design Awards

Outstanding Achievement, Exhibition Lighting and Installations

2020 ENR Northwest Regional Best Projects

Renovation/Restoration Award of Merit

2020 DJC Building of the Year

Top 10

Harmonizing with the 1933 Bebb and Gould designed Art Deco building, the renovation and expansion of the Asian Art Museum is concurrently composed to integrate into the Olmsted designed landscape of Volunteer 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 renovation and addition 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. 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.

The circulation interconnects each volume, ultimately connecting everything to the park and the original elements. The Entrance Level encompasses all lobbies, existing gallery spaces, and an all-new 2,658 sq. ft. gallery which adds significant additional space for the museum. The Ground Level and Basement Level have a similar building program composed of ancillary spaces, art storage, meeting spaces, and offices. The Ground Level also contains a library, conservation studio, 201-seat auditorium, and a community education space. 

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 façade 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.

The 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.