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Rendering of the Orange County Museum of Art’s new home. Image: Morphosis Architects. Click above for more images.

Orange County Museum of Art Reveals Design of New Building

The Orange County Museum of Art has unveiled architect Thom Mayne’s design for its new 52,000-square-foot home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. Slated to open in 2021, the new building will increase the museum’s exhibition space by 50 percent. It will also boast an open-air roof terrace that covers 70 percent of the museum site.

The move to the institution’s new space has been ten years in the making. Multiple building projects had previously been proposed, but they all failed due to disagreements among the staff and financial troubles, among other issues. In 2008, the 1.64 acres at the Segerstrom Center were donated to the museum, but it was unable to move the project forward due to the recession. The institution plans to close its current building at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Center, where it has resided for forty-one years, on June 17.

The museum is scheduled to break ground for the facility in 2019, and construction is expected to take two years. The Segerstrom Center comprises three other buildings that host eight performance venues, including the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the Samueli Theater, the Judy Morr Theater, and the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School.

Commenting on his vision for the building, Mayne told the Los Angeles Times that is “very site specific.” He wanted the museum to be seen as a public space. Elements of the design were also partially inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Mayne based the building’s staircase that directs visitors from the Argyros Plaza to the museum’s terrace on the iconic steps that lead to the entrance of the Met.

Museum director Todd D. Smith praised the dynamic design, which will allow the institution to showcase more art from its 3,500-work collection and to grow its curatorial team. “The story of this museum has only ever been told in episodes and moments, not in one story,” he said. “This is a much newer way to look at the collection, and trends emerging around it, and trends that preceded it. The new space gives us the freedom to show our collection as a core exhibition. And to have a core identity.”

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