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UCD seeks input on designs for art museum

The "Grand Canopy" design for the new Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis proposes a 50,000-square-foot permeable cover over both the site and building, which would be adjacent to the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on campus. SO - IL architects/Courtesy sketch

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From page A1 | April 03, 2013 |

Speak out

What: Public forum unveiling top three designs for Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: UCD Conference Center

What’s next: After being introduced tonight, the drawings and architectural models will be on display through May 19 at the Nelson Gallery on campus

Come take a look, then speak your mind.

That’s what UC Davis is hoping people will do as the university rolls out three competing design options at 5:30 p.m. today for the planned Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The event will take place in the UCD Conference Center, across from the Mondavi Center.

Three architect-contractor teams will reveal their drawings and display three-dimensional models of the buildings they are proposing, to be located on a 1.6-acre site at the regional front door to the university, accessible and visible from Interstate 80, one of California’s most traveled corridors.

Facing the one-acre Vanderhoef Quad on the south side, the museum will be close not only to the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts but also to the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center and the Graduate School of Management. Other nearby facilities include a Hyatt Place hotel and the Arboretum.

The museum is named in honor of Jan Shrem, proprietor of Clos Pegase winery in the Napa Valley, and his wife, arts patron Maria Manetti Shrem. In 2011, Jan Shrem gave $10 million to the university to establish a new museum.

The competing design teams were charged with creating a building sensitive to the exhibition of the university’s fine arts collection. They were selected as finalists because each advanced ideas about how architecture could enable the innovative and interdisciplinary inquiry that distinguishes UCD faculty, alumni and students. Also important was a demonstrated ability to move forward the standards for sustainability in art museums.

Here is a thumbnail description of the three designs, each of which includes an unusual roof:

* “Grand Canopy,” which proposes “a 50,000-square-foot permeable cover over both the site and building. … The Canopy works in two ways: first, to generate a field of experimentation, an infrastructure, and a stage for events; and second, as an urban device that creates a new locus of activity and center of gravity.

“(Under the Canopy) interwoven curved and straight sections seamlessly define inside and outside. The result is a portfolio of interconnected interior and exterior spaces. … (The Canopy’s) unique form engenders curiosity from a distance, like a lone hill on the skyline, (producing) constantly changing silhouettes and profiles as visitors move through the site.

The contractor is Whiting-Turner, the design architect SO – IL of Brooklyn, N.Y., and the executive architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

* “The Slant,” described as “a simple and striking parallelogram form … two corners of the building are lifted to create distinct facades facing the campus and the adjacent highway, forming a dramatic sloping roof that houses an array of spaces, views and experiences.

“The slope of this roof, its orientation and its light metal cladding together produce an inherently efficient envelope that minimizes solar heat gain and energy needed to cool the building. … The roof becomes a graceful canopy extending over a new plaza to create a large shaded public outdoor space. …

“The proposed landscape is strategically designed to ‘stitch’ the new building to the site with a series of outdoor rooms — spaces that complement and blend with the museum’s interior while providing opportunities for ample natural light and ventilation.”

The contractor is Kitchell, the design architect WORK Architecture Company of New York City and the executive architect Westlake Reed Leskowsky.

* “The Leaf,” named in part because of the design’s slanting roof canopy. “The galleries and supporting functions that have little need for daylight but require a stable indoor climate are protected at ground level,” a description reads. “Social spaces are located in the light-filled upper part of the building, shaded by the roof’s cantilever. A large ‘hangout’ ramp extends from the ground level to an upper-level public courtyard … chilling out in the shade on the ramp is equivalent to sitting under the Arboretum trees.

“(In the gallery space), three pivoting walls permit several possible spatial experiences: enabling the space to be organized as one coherent gallery with a spine configuration or four separate galleries with their own entrances.”

The contractor is Oliver and Company, the design architect Henning Larsen Architects of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the executive architect: Gould Evans.

The square footage of the museum, depending on the design chosen, will be between 22,000 and 30,000 square feet.

After being introduced Wednesday night, the drawings and architectural models will be on display through May 19 at the Nelson Gallery (the former University Club) on the UCD campus. Further information on the Nelson Gallery show is available at http://nelsongallery.ucdavis.edu/designdelib.php.

Several other public forums will be conducted in coming weeks to receive input from students, faculty, staff and the community. The winning design will be announced in mid-May. The museum, anticipated to break ground in 2014, will be a new teaching and cultural resource for the region, university officials say.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

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