The Saint Mary’s Museum of Art is a valuable resource for both the campus and the community. The only accredited art museum in Contra Costa County, Saint Mary’s stages both traveling exhibits and shows that feature its extensive and growing collection of paintings, works on paper, ethnographic art, photographs and other art objects. Unfortunately, the existing galleries and support facilities severely limit the cultural and educational mission that is central for a college art collection.
BAR Architects has designed a new museum for the Saint Mary’s campus that will nearly triple the existing permanent and temporary exhibition areas and consolidate the collections, staff and activities into a single structure. Additional amenities, including an expanded gift shop, classrooms, conference rooms, administrative offices, and archival storage, are integrated into the overall design and provide the support functions that are essential for modern museums.
Using colonnades, courtyards and axial pathways, BAR Architects’ proposed building design incorporates and enhances the architectural vocabulary of the historic campus. The Museum is planned to form a new quad with BAR’s recently completed Oliver Hall Dining Facility. The landscaped space between these two buildings will be an ideal setting for opening receptions and outdoor exhibits.