Tampa Museum of Art

Architype Dialogue presents

Stanley Saitowitz

What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?

The design of contemporary museum can be characterized by two polar approaches. On the one-hand buildings which aim to be works of art in themselves, independent sculptural objects as signatures of their architects. On the opposite end of the spectrum are museums as containers, as beautiful jewel boxes, treasure chests whose sole purpose is to be filled with art.

This museum is a neutral frame for the display of art, an empty canvass to be filled with paintings. It is a blank container, a scaffold, infrastructure, to be completed by its contents. A glass pedestal supports the jewelbox above. The building floats in the park, embracing it with its overhanging shelter and reflective walls. It is a hovering abstraction, gliding above the ground.

Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?

With the shift in the economy, the resources available to build museums has changed – some of the recent museum buildings were costing up to $2,000/sf. The Tampa Museum was built for $400/sf. We believe that buildings which offer value and economy, as opposed to spending huge amounts of money on giant sculptures, are a responsible way to build.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?

The program for the museum called for a building without daylight in order to control the art environment. This resulted in a blank exterior without fenestration. The two layers of perforated metal producing moray patterns by day, and lit with led’s at night, represent new technical ways to accomplish and object which is interesting and fluid, without being self interested.

Architype Review thanks Stanley Saitowitz for his interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.

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