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Tacoma Art Museum. Tacoma, Washington. Image license: Olson Kundig Architects.
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Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

Tacoma Art Museum Benaroya Wing

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma Art Museum Benaroya Wing

Tacoma, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

  • Principal

    Kirsten Ring Murray

The newest addition to Tacoma Art Museum, the Benaroya Wing balances opacity and transparency to provide optimal viewing conditions for more than 350 works of glass art, paintings and sculpture from the Benaroya Collection. The addition strengthens the visual connection between TAM and the city, activating the museum’s north end and offering visitors a new platform to observe the urban context.

Because the Benaroya Collection was originally privately held and contains many glass artworks, the key design strategies were founded around a sensitivity to scale, lighting and protection of the art. The resulting design translates this private collection to a civic-scaled public exhibition forum. Flexible exhibit armatures and moveable temporary walls allow curators to present the collection in multiple ways.

At the far end of the new wing is the Vista Gallery, comprised of a 46-foot-wide window wall projecting six feet out from the building’s face. This window wall overlooks the Prairie Line Trail’s pedestrian and bike paths, and the urban context of the city beyond. A new illuminated beacon for the museum, the Benaroya Gallery draws the eye and creates a new point of connection between TAM, its collections and the community of Tacoma it serves.

With the new Benaroya Wing, the intimate scale inside the gallery is balanced against the external civic scale of the city of Tacoma. The Vista Gallery with its window wall offers a lens into what’s happening inside the gallery, and outside to the urban experience of downtown Tacoma. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
The Benaroya Wing is an evolution of the original museum design – it is intended to be an extension of the larger museum building, but add a new level of transparency and viewability to continue the Tacoma Art Museum’s longstanding goal of deepening their engagement with the city. Kirsten Ring Murray, FAIA