San Jose Museum Comp
San Jose, California

Art and Design are not superfluous novelties or specialties, but are fundamental to learning and discovery. Therefore, the role of the museum is central and necessarily laced into the core of university life. Consequently, the siting and planning of the building attempts to weave the program, space, and circulation of the Department of Art and Design into that of the larger institution, while respecting the existing campus morphology.

Flexible exhibition space is not provided by neutral boxes, nor highly figural spaces, but rather by the vantage points that result from the viewer’s interaction with given spatial relationships. The spatial variety, in both scale and proportion, provided by the design allows the curator to determine such interaction.

Placement of the public exterior stair activates and intensifies the zone between the student center and the north promenade. The exterior stair brings one to the multi-purpose theater space and leads to the third floor bridge.

Passage to the third floor bridge offers glimpses into the large gallery space on the second floor. From the third floor, one can access departmental classrooms and studios, which are now integrated, not separated from the institution of the museum. Circulation continues across the gap back to the existing Art and Design building and provides views of the reformed courtyard from above.

A new café and bookstore revive the inner courtyard of the existing Art and Design building as well as the north promenade. Upon entering the café, one is drawn into proximity of the Museum galleries, the theater and the main entrance to the existing Department building.

The placement of the building creates more intimately shaped, courtyard spaces. Massive cantilevers establish a strong presence while respecting the boundaries of the existing department building footprint.