ART AND ABSTRACTION
Vital to the success of the contemporary art community in Santa Rosa is a legitimate home that is a visual symbol of its role, provides quality exhibition and event space, and supports the expansion of the institution’s mission. To help achieve this goal, our proposed design for a new Museum of Contemporary Art at the Luther Burbank Center is informed by the immediate context, the Center’s namesake, Luther Burbank, and the role of abstraction and provocation in contemporary art.
CONTEXT AND CONTRIBUTION
The proposed site, between the existing building and the highway, poses many challenges. The existing building is quite unattractive and the freeway is very noisy. As a direct response to these conditions we have proposed an attenuated building running parallel with the highway to establish a new façade for the Center. We have located a series of three outdoor exhibition courts between the existing and new, and have used the new building form to screen the noise from the highway.
LEGACY AND LANDSCAPE
The attenuated building form is articulated so that it emerges from the ground on both ends as an extension of the landscape. This is to create an association and homage to ‘Luther Burbank’ for his celebrated role in horticulture and the history of the area. The ground becomes a landscaped roof, to be used as an exhibit area for environmental art, and is also a sustainable/ecological design component. The roof will be ever changing with the seasons and add visual interest.
VIEW AND VARIATION
The primary view of the building is from automobile traffic along Highway 101. The form of the building is meant to enhance the dynamic visual experience as you pass by. The sinuous form emerges and disappears into the surrounding landscape, and the rhythm of the building structure is evocative of the vistas afforded by orchards viewed from the road. The intrigue created by the unique visual experience and the abstractness of the building form will attract more visitors and engage the community in the exhibits hosted by the Center.
MUSEUM AND MATERIALS
The building plan is very simple to support flexibility. The entrance and lobby are located to the north of the main gallery closer to the main parking area. The main gallery is an open exhibition space intended for curatorial versatility. It has a proportion that will support both close-up and distant views to respond to various scales and types of art. Doors link the exhibition space to the sheltered outdoor exhibition courts spaces to the northeast, while small strategic openings create axial vistas of the freeway and its motion to the southwest. This duality is intended to create an inspired tension between the ‘static’ and the ‘kinetic’. Natural daylight is filtered and indirectly admitted through glazing within deep-set, closely spaced louvers. The administrative and support spaces are located to the south of the main gallery adjacent for convenient service access. The building’s primary structure is cast-in-place concrete. Infill wall panels and glazing frames are re-claimed redwood.