The new de Young museum is cloaked in textured copper.
Some old friends you haven't seen in nearly five years are getting ready to welcome you to their new, world-class home. Paintings by Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keeffe, Aztec murals, and a fabulous Maori feathered cape are among the favorites that will be back on display when San Francisco's de Young Museum unveils its galleries on October 15, two months after the August opening of the gift shop and café. This repository of art from the Americas, Africa, and Oceania occupies the same Golden Gate Park site as its beloved but quake-damaged predecessor, which work crews removed.
Renowned Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have cloaked the $202 million building in perforated, textured copper that mimics the dappling effect of sunlight through trees. The exterior will oxidize over time, gaining a rich green patina to match its verdant setting. At the museum's eastern end, a 144-foot tower twists gently skyward to an observation floor where the public—without paying admission—can admire panoramic views of the city and bay. The drama inside the galleries is more subtle. Gracefully proportioned rooms and expansive spaces bathed in natural light accent the museum's collection without competing with it. "We wanted to keep the art itself in the foreground," Herzog says. Those of us who missed our old friends are glad they did.
The de Young is at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. in Golden Gate Park. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors. (415) 863-3330, De Young Museum.
Photography by Terrence McCarthy
This article was first published in September 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.