Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

On 13 November 2016 the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art opened to the public on the campus of the University of California, Davis, three years after the school held a competition for its first purpose-built art museum. The team of Brooklyn's SO-IL and the San Francisco office of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson won with a design highlighted by a large "Grand Canopy" that covers most of the building and its outdoor spaces. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson sent us text and images about the building.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
As a new focal point and destination for the entire community, the Manetti Shrem completes UC Davis' vision for an arts district on the south side of campus, complementing the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. It will be home to rotating collections of works, classes, studios and shared communal spaces, all housed under its defining architectural feature, a 50,000-square-foot floating "Grand Canopy" of perforated aluminum triangular beams.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
Under the canopy, events are generated by movement of the sun and changing seasons, producing a tapestry of shadows and constantly mutable silhouettes as visitors move through the public plaza. Lines from the site and its surroundings carry through to help shape the courtyard's design. Beyond serving as a gateway to the museum lobby, this outdoor space will provide opportunities for interactive learning, open-air exhibitions, and performance; two exterior projection walls will also display digital works and film.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
Inside the single-story 30,000-square-foot building is a portfolio of interconnected spaces, all with distinct spatial qualities and characteristics that trigger diverse activities. Gallery, education and operations pavilions are visibly connected via lightly polished concrete floors. Ceilings are custom aluminum mesh fitted with state-of-the-art occupant-controlled LED lighting, which enables effective illumination of a variety of media within close adjacency and accommodates natural light delivered by visible connections to the outside.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
"The museum's design was inspired by the agrarian landscape of the Central Valley, which is rich in pattern, texture and color," says Karl Backus, design principal from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's San Francisco office. "We incorporated these elements into the program of the building as a way to create smaller volumes and provide an approachable, human scale."
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
What makes this project especially unique is the method in which it was designed and constructed. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and SO - IL, chosen from a design competition in 2013, were partnered with nationally recognized construction company Whiting-Turner. Through a design-build project delivery method, uncommon in museum design, the team has created a building that redefines the concept of a university museum and the manner in which the campus community will experience art.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
This winter's inaugural exhibition will unveil gifts to the collection and feature major public and private loans in order to examine the role of UC Davis as the progenitor of some of the most important art to emerge from the West Coast in the late 20th century. Artists Wayne Thiebaud, William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Ruth Horsting, Manuel Neri and Roland Petersen are among those who will be represented.
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
( Photo ©: Iwan Baan )
Manetti Shrem Museum
Davis, California

University of California, Davis

2013, First Prize

Associate Architect
Brooklyn, NY

Associate Architect
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
San Francisco, CA

Project Team
Competition: SO-IL: Florian Idenburg, Ilias Papageorgiou, Jing Liu, Danny Duong, Seunghyun Kang, Nile Greenberg, Pietro Pagliaro, Andre Herrero, Madelyn Ringo, Jacopo Lugli; BCJ: Karl Backus, Sergei Bischak, Ryan Keerns, Alex Gregor
Realization: SO-IL: Florian Idenburg, Ilias Papageorgiou, Jing Liu, Danny Duong, Kevin Lamyuktseung; BCJ: Karl Backus (principal), Ryan Keerns (project manager), Karolina Kaczmarczyk, Ashley Morgan, Maria Danielides, Travis Shockley, Victor Tzen


Structural Engineer
Rutherford & Chekene

Mechanical Engineer/Sustainability

Lighting Designer
Fisher Marantz Stone

Canopy Engineer
Front Inc.

Built Area
29,000 sf

Iwan Baan