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Located at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Hood Street, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is a critical link connecting the core of the Downtown district with the History Museum and Union Station and the art and commercial loop of the Thea Foss Waterway development. Designed to provide an engaging built edge along Pacific Avenue while providing focused pedestrian views towards Mt. Rainer, the proposed Museum design mediates the vehicular scale of the I-705 freeway with the pedestrian scale of the proposed arts loop created by Pacific Avenue, Hood Street, the Thea Foss promenade and the Chihuly bridge. Oriented on the site to accommodate the possible future expansion of the existing courthouse, the footprint of the future courthouse has been designed as surface garden parking. Until such time as the Courts choose to implement the proposed expansion, this surface garden parking area will provide a visual buffer between I-705 and the Museum. Preliminary site massing has explored the slope of the site to the East of Pacific Avenue. By pulling the edge of the building away from the street edge and creating a fissure, bridges could span over the perimeter fissure, enticing one to sectionally experience the building while providing choreographed vignettes into the inner working of the Museum. Apertures are cut into this fissure wall orienting the pedestrian to views of Mt. Rainer, the Museum lobby, the educational component of the Museum program, and other critical programmatic elements of the building. Hierarchically organized around the different ends for views and the critical nature of light in a Museum, the storage and service elements of the building are located at the lower level of the building, the public functions and galleries are located at street level, while the administrative functions are located at the upper level. In association with Executive Architect Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects.
Text: Antoine Predock Architecture
Images: Antoine Predock Architecture / Lara Swimmer