Manetti Shrem Museum of Art is the first contemporary arts museum for both the campus and city of Davis. With a mission to cultivate curiosity and participation across generational, racial, economic, and other social divisions, the design of the museum is rooted in principles of flexibility, transparency, and accessibility. Qualities of openness and porosity are expressed in ways large and small, from the materiality of the 50,000-square-foot perforated canopy to the non-traditional layout of the exhibition spaces which encourage chance encounters and informal learning. The added programmatic functionality provided by the museum complements the academic, administrative, and performing facilities on the quad, inviting a broader cross-section of the community to this part of the campus.
The site for the museum completes the long-range master plan for program surrounding Vanderhoef Quad. Situated in a highly visible location, the museum also had to serve as a university icon from a variety of vantage points and speeds (pedestrian, bicyclist, automobile). The building acts as the terminus to an axis leading back to the center of campus, aligning interior and exterior circulation to maintain visual connectivity.
The procurement strategy for the museum was a design-build competition. During the competition phase, the architects were in constant dialogue with the builder. This allowed for specific feedback about vernacular building techniques and cost- effective systems readily available in the Central Valley. This relationship continued through the documentation process: the architects worked directly with the various trades to refine details and test assemblies through large-scale mock-ups, maintaining a focus on aesthetic, functional, sustainability, and budgetary goals.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; also SO-IL; The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; Lutsko Associates; Cunningham Engineering; Rutherford + Chekene; WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff; Fisher Marantz Stone; Charles M. Salter Associates