SJU Museum of Art & Design

San Jose, CA


The design process began by considering what could crystallize a relationship between the creation of, the learning of, and the display of art. The site becomes the epicenter of external and internal forces: Campus master plan, cultural context, natural lighting conditions, programmatic requirements, constructability, geological forces, user comfort, and budgetary restrictions.

The difficult site with the existing courtyard as the only viable space for the addition and the demanding program with the creation of a signature building made this project a conceptual and technical challenge.

Filling in the courtyard and extending over the existing building provided an economical solution. The glowing entrance animated the campus and formed a destination point, thereby fulfilling the need for a signature building. The galleries are rendered as raw, high-bay, flexible spaces with the user (curator) determining the final layout.

The filled in courtyard is recreated as a rooftop garden, replacing a rarely used in-between space with a private, serene oasis.