M. H. de Young Museum

Constructed of warm, natural materials, including copper, stone, wood and glass, the new de Young blends into and complement its surroundings. Founded in 1895 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum, damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, was closed to the public on December 31, 2000. The new de Young replaces the former facility on the same site, returning nearly two acres of open space to Golden Gate Park by reducing the footprint 37 percent. Historic elements from the former de Young, such as the sphinxes, the original palm trees, and the Pool of Enchantment, have been retained or reconstructed. The dramatic copper facade is perforated and textured to replicate the impression made by light filtering through a tree canopy. The copper skin, chosen for its changeable quality through oxidation, will assume a rich green patina over time that will blend gracefully with the surrounding environment.

The educational department is housed in a 144-foot tower that spirals gently from the ground floor and aligns at the top with the grid formed by the surrounding neighborhood. The building is threaded with a series of courtyards that draw visitors and the landscape into the museum’s interior. The main entrance leads through a courtyard paved in Yorkshire limestone. The exterior is encircled by ribbons of windows that reflect the landscape and allow park visitors glimpses of the art within the museum, while simultaneously providing museum visitors views of the park. A public observation floor offers panoramic views of the entire Bay Area. Broad staircases lead from the double-height interior lobby to the open, expansive galleries, paved with honeyed colored hardwood, that houses the museum’s diverse collections of world art.



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