San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Mario Botta (with Hellmuth Obata & Kassabaum)

This monumental building was Swiss architect Botta's first commission in the United States. Like many of his buildings, it illustrates his interest in the circle and the square. The structure is comprised of stepped-back boxes and a truncated striped cylindrical tower. This art museum is in the middle of the block across from the Yerba Buena Gardens and Art Center.

Textured brickwork is a trademark of Botta's style. Here the brickwork patterns differ on each of the stepped facades. Botta also avoids conventional windows (except at the entrance). Here a window strip slices through the cylinder and moves down to the lower facade.

The zebra stripes of gray and black granite, so prominent in the tower, are repeated at the sides of the entrance and in the entrance columns and piers.


The entrance


The atrium

Galleries are grouped around this central open space. At its highest point a steel bridge crosses the atrium.


The lobby

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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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