Phoenix Art Museum


The Phoenix Art Museum is a composite of several buildings constructed over a period of fifty years. After a successful first addition in 1996 along with the continued growth of Phoenix, the studio was asked to rethink and strategize the museum site. The second addition completed 10 years later provides a new wing with over 20,000 square feet of column-free gallery space. The 10,000 square foot, entrance pavilion is oriented towards a new entry court and visitor parking. A sandblasted concrete wall shields the serene, Palo Verde tree shaded entry court from the surrounding traffic. A curtain of water drops from a large fountain into a granite pool, giving the sound and sense of coolness. The 40 foot cantilever of the new entrance creates a great shaded outdoor “room.” Laminated 1-1/2” thick 15-foot high glass panels create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. At night a constellation of ceiling fixtures creates a festive atmosphere for museum parties and the appropriately titled The Last Scattering Surface, a piece by Josiah McElheny is a centerpiece of light. Passage to the existing museum occurs through a dramatic 26 foot high narrow space. The sculpted ceiling reflects soft light from a clerestory above. In the new gallery wing, a skylight, 45 feet high, casts changing light onto the ceiling surface. A sculptural concrete and stone stair and a vertical mast of sandblasted concrete enclosing the elevator, rise through the space to connect four levels of galleries. On the top floor, a small cantilevered room extending from the corner of the museum, allows a measure of controlled natural light into the gallery and provides a respite with a view toward the mountains of Phoenix. The gallery wing uses locally fabricated pre-cast concrete panels both as structure and for exposed architectural surfaces. Green glacier quartz, used as an aggregate in the first renovation, was used in smaller aggregate size in a dark concrete mix. A tectonic rela

Addition, 1996
Addition, 2006