M.H. de Young Memorial Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

Golden Gate Park

California 94118



Herzog & de Meuron 2005


The new de Young Museum, opened in October of 2005, is an exciting new replacement of the old de Young Museum building which was badly damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and consequently demolished in 2002. Hosted by the Board of Trustees of the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, an international invitational competition was announced in 1998. Among the finalist teams were architects Tadao Ando, Cesar Pelli, Antoine Predock, Rafael Viñoly and Herzog & de Meuron. The Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron were selected as the competition winners, officially receiving the commission in January 1999.



The museum houses numerous collections, which represent a variety of international cultures, and H&deM decided to reflect this diversity by working with different kinds of exhibition spaces. The first idea was to place separate buildings, such as pavilions, throughout San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The concept developed into an all-under-one roof structure that was imagined by the architects to be “an organism with several limbs like fingers.”



One of the most interesting aspects of the building is the façade of copper panels. Their design began with pixilated photos of the park’s treetops. With the help of computer software these photos were transformed into abstract patterns that were later transferred to the metal panels by means of mechanical indentations, perforations and protuberances, creating a richly textured building skin that, as expected, is oxidizing and taking on a greenish tone.



The building has two public accesses in addition to the main entrance: one at the western of the museum by the sculpture garden and café, and the other, at the east end of the building, adjacent to the twisting tower. These numerous entry points are uncommon for a museum, and along with large glass walls exposing green courtyards, respond to the architects’ initial intention of creating a continuous ground floor that could function as a continuous part of the Golden Gate Park realm.



The twisting tower, with its ninth floor observation deck, as well as the Café, the Museum Store and the Main Court, are public access spaces on the ground floor that contribute to the fluidity of the Park-Museum Space. Permanent exhibition rooms are mostly concentrated on the second floor, whereas temporary exhibits are in the basement. This level is conveniently connected to an underground 800-space parking garage under the Music Concourse, shared by the de Young, the California Academy of Sciences (by Renzo Piano) and other park users.



Rafael Cazorla 2009


How to visit


The Museum is in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, between Martin Luther King Drive and Music Concourse and adjacent to 10th Avenue. All the information needed to visit the building as hours of operation, admission tickets or telephone number is available on the Museum web site.






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