Then & Now: Seattle Asian Art Museum
After a closing down in early 2017 for a $54 million restoration and renovation led by LMN Architects, the Seattle Asian Art Museum (1400 E. Prospect St.) is getting ready for a late fall/early winter reopening. The striking 1933 Art Deco building (originally home to the Seattle Art Museum) will be fully restored and exclusively feature the extensive Asian art collection. The renovation will consist of a sensitive addition that will increase the building’s footprint by just 3,600 square feet but result in nearly 14,000 square feet of interior space.
Breaking ground in 2018 after months of preparation, the project is slated to receive significant infrastructural upgrades to protect the landmark, preserve its west-side facÌ§ade and safeguard the art. Although the building required major modifications to increase safety and functionality–it hadn’t been substantially renovated since its inception during the Great Depression–maintaining its iconic presence in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Volunteer Park has been key.
One distinction between the old space and the new is the change to the Fuller Garden Court at the museum’s heart. Doors carved from the existing scagliola walls will open onto a glass-enclosed lobby, allowing for views of the verdant park from both sides of the building and a connection to new galleries. Conservation and education spaces also will be added, community gathering spots will be enhanced, and even the park itself will receive some brand new walkways as well as restoration to some of its historic Olmstedian paths.