On SITE Re­open­ing un­der a new prow

SITE SANTA FE RE­OPENS UN­DER A NEW PROW

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - Paul Wei­de­man

SITE Santa Fe has been closed and un­der con­struc­tion for more than nine months, while the mu­seum’s staff and pa­trons held their col­lec­tive breath in an­tic­i­pa­tion of some­thing dra­matic. About half­way through the ex­pan­sion project, the build­ing’s stucco turned nearly black. Then its flanks be­gan sport­ing pan­el­ing that was rad­i­cally in­no­va­tive, es­pe­cially for Santa Fe: thick sand­wiches of per­fo­rated-alu­minum sheets with rhyth­mic joint pat­terns. The build­ing front lost the white, scoopy forms that were in­stalled by ar­chi­tect Greg Lynn for the 2012 ex­hi­bi­tion More Real? Art in the Age of

Truthi­ness. The new fa­cade is a wall of glass un­der a tri­an­gu­lar “prow” fea­ture that can­tilevers about 60 feet out from the build­ing.

The new SITE opens to the pub­lic with The Re­veal, a 21-and-over party on the evening of Fri­day, Oct. 6; and com­mu­nity days Satur­day and Sun­day, Oct. 7 and 8, with for­tune tell­ers, a photo booth, a time cap­sule project (bring your ob­jects to be pho­tographed), SITE tours and talks — and cup­cakes. There are two open­ing art ex­hi­bi­tions. Fu­ture Shock, run­ning from Oct. 7 to May 1, 2018, fea­tures paint­ings, draw­ings, sculp­tures, video, pho­tog­ra­phy, and mul­ti­me­dia in­stal­la­tions by 10 artists. The show’s ti­tle ref­er­ences the 1970 book by fu­tur­ist Alvin Tof­fler. One of his points in that vol­ume is eerily rel­e­vant in the age of the iPhone, sev­eral decades later: “In this book, I try to show that the rate of change has im­pli­ca­tions quite apart from, and some­times more im­por­tant than, the

di­rec­tions of change.” He ad­vises that there must be a bal­ance “be­tween the pace of en­vi­ron­men­tal change and the lim­ited pace of hu­man re­sponse.” The sec­ond ex­hi­bi­tion, Kota Ezawa: The Crime of

Art, opens in a new SITElab space just off the en­larged lobby and hangs through Jan. 10, 2018. It fea­tures works re­lated to the San Fran­cisco artist’s se­ries about fa­mous mu­seum heists in his­tory. It’s an ex­am­ple of the short-run art shows that will hang there year-round, in­clud­ing when the main gal­leries are closed for in­stal­la­tions of new ex­hibits. Ac­cess to SITElab is free seven days a week. SITE’s ex­panded store and its new cof­fee and snack bar are also open to guests at no charge.

Those good­ies are part of a wel­com­ing ges­ture built into the new SITE. Peo­ple vis­it­ing SITElab and the bright lobby, shop, and mini-café can en­joy their cof­fee and so­cial­ize un­der the prow. Irene Hof­mann, the mu­seum’s Phillips Di­rec­tor and Chief Cu­ra­tor, an­tic­i­pates that peo­ple will think of SITE not just as a place to en­counter con­tem­po­rary art, but as a gath­er­ing place. That was also be­hind SHoP Ar­chi­tects’ plan to make use of the “un­der­taxed tri­an­gle” at the front — not only has the lobby been ex­panded 30 feet out­ward, but the prow ex­tends all the way out to Paseo de Per­alta and the start of the ra­mada fea­ture in Rai­l­yard Park.

The dra­matic new en­trance is the lat­est in a se­ries of artis­tic treat­ments de­signed to call at­ten­tion to the mu­seum and to pro­voke ex­plo­ration into what’s go­ing on in­side. The very first ar­chi­tect in­volved with the build­ing was Richard Gluck­man, who made the 1970 Coors ware­house “hos­pitable for art,” as Hof­mann put it. SITE’s in­au­gu­ral bi­en­nial ex­hi­bi­tion Long­ing and Be­long­ing: From the Far­away Nearby opened in July 1995 at the Mu­seum of Fine Arts (to­day’s New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art) and at the ren­o­vated ware­house at 1606 Paseo de Per­alta. Other ar­chi­tects who have worked with, and on, SITE Santa Fe be­sides Lynn are Tod Wil­liams and Bil­lie Tsien, who did the ex­hi­bi­tion de­sign for the mu­seum’s sev­enth in­ter­na­tional bi­en­nial, Lucky Num­ber Seven (2008); and David Ad­jaye, who de­signed the space for The Dis­solve, the eighth bi­en­nial (2010).

In 2014, SITE hired the New York-based SHoP Ar­chi­tects to im­prove the func­tion­al­ity of the mu­seum’s in­te­rior and to de­sign ad­di­tions. This is SHoP’s first mu­seum project, but the firm is well known for projects such as 111 W. 57th Street (the Stein­way Tower) in Man­hat­tan, Bar­clays Cen­ter Arena in Brook­lyn, and the Uber head­quar­ters in San Fran­cisco. The new or re­mod­eled spa­ces at SITE Santa Fe to­tal about 10,000 square feet, boost­ing the to­tal to 34,000 square feet. Be­sides SITElab (which is equipped with a gi­ant wall that can be ro­tated to cus­tom­ize the spa­ces on both sides), there is the Ed­u­ca­tion Lab, a 200-seat au­di­to­rium with state-of-the-art acous­tics built into the walls and ceil­ing, and a new gath­er­ing space in the mid­dle of the build­ing: the Sky Mez­za­nine and court­yard. A large gallery de­signed with tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity con­trols was an im­por­tant ad­di­tion. It per­mits the mu­seum to ex­hibit works it pre­vi­ously could not; cur­rently in this space are art­works by Alexis Rock­man, An­dreas Gursky, Dario Robleto, and An­drea Zit­tel. The build­ing’s new air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem will be a sum­mer­time bless­ing for both staff and vis­i­tors.

The orig­i­nal tar­get cost for the project was $6 mil­lion, but the fin­ished price tag is $8 mil­lion, Hof­mann said. “We raised $11.1 mil­lion of the to­tal goal of $11.7 mil­lion. The first $3 mil­lion of that to­tal was to go into the en­dow­ment to sup­port op­er­at­ing costs into the fu­ture. So we’re nearly done.”

About the dy­namic de­sign, she said SITE Santa Fe and SHoP Ar­chi­tects worked within the guide­lines of the Rai­l­yard Mas­ter Plan, and the project was ap­proved by the ar­chi­tec­tural re­view com­mit­tee of the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard Com­mu­nity Cor­po­ra­tion. The eye-open­ing

THE DRA­MATIC NEW EN­TRANCE IS THE LAT­EST IN A SE­RIES OF ARTIS­TIC TREAT­MENTS DE­SIGNED TO CALL AT­TEN­TION TO THE MU­SEUM AND TO PRO­VOKE EX­PLO­RATION INTO WHAT’S GO­ING ON IN­SIDE.

fea­ture fac­ing Paseo de Per­alta is re­peated at the rear of the build­ing. A less em­phatic prow projects over the Event Porch, which will be used as an exit for some SITE events. The metal cladding form­ing the two prows (which the ar­chi­tects de­scribe as “soar­ing lay­ered and per­fo­rated fa­cades”) ex­tends some dis­tance along the long side wall fac­ing the park, ter­mi­nat­ing at acute an­gles — the metal forms thus ap­pear as dy­nam­i­cally pointed par­al­lel­o­grams. Be­tween them, the wall is stucco in a “mid­night oil” color that SHoP has em­ployed on sev­eral of its projects; it was part of the de­sign that the build­ing be ba­si­cally black un­der­neath the cladding. The other long wall, op­po­site the rail­road tracks and Ware­house 21, is a long black rec­tan­gle punc­tu­ated by three or four large art pan­els.

The cladding it­self is a com­plex sand­wich of per­fo­rated-alu­minum sheets. Peter Brill, pres­i­dent of Sar­con Con­struc­tion, the con­trac­tor, said the 6-footwide pan­els came in steel cra­dles in 45-foot con­tain­ers from Shang­hai, where they were man­u­fac­tured. The pan­els were fas­tened to brack­ets bolted to the walls. Wind load on the cladding was an im­por­tant fac­tor in the de­sign, which did not in­crease the height of the SITE Santa Fe build­ing.

The de­signs cre­ated by the pan­els’ edges were in­spired by pat­terns in Na­tive Amer­i­can rugs and pot­tery, said Ayumi Sugiyama, project di­rec­tor with SHoP Ar­chi­tects. The pan­els are at­tached to one an­other at vary­ing depths, cre­at­ing an­other de­sign layer in their shad­ows. And when you walk or drive by, the per­fo­ra­tions in the pan­els shift align­ment, yield­ing a “moiré” visual-in­ter­fer­ence ef­fect. “In terms of the con­cept for this cladding, we ba­si­cally ex­truded, straight-up, a rhom­boidal grid that you can pic­ture as an egg crate, then we just carved away at the fa­cade,” Sugiyama said last sum­mer. “The an­gles of the facets are what cre­ate the geo­met­ric pat­tern.”

In a re­cent in­ter­view, she added that the pan­els were made in Shang­hai be­cause that fa­cil­ity has the abil­ity to pro­duce long ma­te­rial runs like the 20-foot heights used at SITE. “If we had used an­other com­pany, we might have had to have a break and there would have been hor­i­zon­tal joints” break­ing up the pat­tern. Sugiyama said the fact that you can see the bolts when you look closely and can thus un­der­stand how the cladding is put to­gether re­lates to “the hon­esty of ma­te­ri­als” in the area’s his­tory, which in­cluded ware­houses and rail­road-re­lated build­ings.

In late Septem­ber, Sar­con was adding one of the last touches: some sim­pler per­fo­rated-alu­minum pan­els for the Sky Ter­race. Asked if there were spe­cial chal­lenges in the SITE project, Sugiyama said, “I’m fin­ish­ing up a 125,000-square-foot build­ing for Amer­i­can Cop­per here in New York and you have the same amount of chal­lenges, big or small. We care a lot, we want to see things through. That can be dif­fi­cult when we’re far away, but on our team we had SITE Santa Fe, which was con­stantly keep­ing a look­out for us; and the con­trac­tor that was very good at post­ing pho­tos; and [Santa Fe] ar­chi­tect Greg Al­le­gretti. He took our de­sign and in­tent and cre­ated all the draw­ings and de­tail­ing for putting it into the build­ing. Greg was there as the eyes on the ground, ba­si­cally, to see it through.”

Sky Ter­race, which is com­pletely open to Santa Fe’s awe­some ce­les­tial ceil­ing, has a va­ri­ety of pot­ted plants and seat­ing, in­clud­ing an alu­minum bench by the late ar­chi­tect Zaha Ha­did. If you want to im­merse your­self in her story and de­signs,

head down to cu­rated for a copy of Ha­did: Com­plete Works 1979-To­day by Philip Jo­didio. It’s one in the selec­tion of art books in the store, which also of­fers dis­tinc­tive de­sign ob­jects, unique gifts, and artist­de­signed prod­ucts like a scarf by Regina Sil­veira, who did the ad­he­sive-vinyl in­sects on the front win­dows and in the mez­za­nine, works that com­prise her Fu­ture Shock piece Mun­dus Ad­mirabilis, 2007.

You may no­tice that th­ese items rest on a dis­tinc­tive fix­ture: a big, lam­i­nated-wood cube with a trun­cated corner. “SITE en­gaged SHoP to de­sign a fam­ily of cus­tom dis­play com­po­nents for their re­tail area,” SHoP Ar­chi­tects’ Cortez Crosby said. “The pieces are be­ing fab­ri­cated by Dy­lan Weller of Well­beloved Wood­works. The pieces are made from po­plar planks that are or­ga­nized in a square grid, and in some cases, they are shaped to achieve the trun­cated corner you are re­fer­ring to. The pat­tern that emerges from this shap­ing process is a di­rect ref­er­ence to the strat­egy that we used when de­sign­ing the pat­tern of the new metal cladding.”

The drama of the new ex­te­rior is ac­cen­tu­ated at night be­cause the cladding glows with white LED lights placed in­side them. At press time, Hof­mann was still work­ing on the lobby light­ing and the ap­pear­ance of that big, glassy fa­cade from out­side. “We have Ke­tra LED lamps that per­mit in­di­vid­ual con­trol. Once we fig­ure out what the night­time light­ing is, that will be a pro­gram­mable scene that will al­low us, for ex­am­ple, to high­light Tom Sachs’ Mars Ex­cur­sion Rov­ing Ve­hi­cle that you’ll be able to see from out­side.”

As she spoke, Hof­mann looked out the mas­sive glazed front to the street, ad­dress­ing the man­ner in which the prow fills an unusu­ally shaped corner of the prop­erty. “So much of what SHoP Ar­chi­tects does, you ap­proach those build­ings from the front, and if it’s in Man­hat­tan, that’s it: the front, and up. They were so in­ter­ested in the op­por­tu­nity with the land­scape here, in fill­ing that tri­an­gle.” Speak­ing about the build­ing’s new per­spec­tive, Sugiyama said, “That was our first take on it, that we need to ex­tend this out — we have all this prop­erty — and to not just close it up like other de­vel­op­ments would, but giv­ing that open space to the com­mu­nity.”

SITE’s week­end open house in­cludes an ART­chi­tec­tural tour with Ayumi Sugiyama at 11 a.m. Satur­day, Oct. 7.

SKY TER­RACE, WHICH IS COM­PLETELY OPEN TO SANTA FE’S AWE­SOME CE­LES­TIAL CEIL­ING, HAS A VA­RI­ETY OF POT­TED PLANTS AND SEAT­ING, IN­CLUD­ING AN ALU­MINUM BENCH BY THE LATE AR­CHI­TECT ZAHA HA­DID.

The Sar­con crew raises one of the pan­els into place, June 2017, photo Paul Wei­de­man

SHoP ar­chi­tect Ayumi Sugiyama on­site, photo Paul Wei­de­man

Chema Al­var­gonzález: Avail­able, 1995 (view of the SITE build­ing); cour­tesy SITE Santa Fe

Event Porch stair­way; left, rear prow, pho­tos Paul Wei­de­man

Alu­minum bench by Zaha Ha­did on the Sky Ter­race; photo Gabriela Cam­pos / The New Mex­i­can

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