Just two years after the completion of a redesigned and more resilient Baker Museum in Naples, WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/ Landscape/ Urbanism has shared the news it will lead the transformative overhaul of another celebrated cultural institution along Florida’s Gulf Coast: a major expansion at the Tampa Museum of Art.
First established in 1920 as the Tampa Museum of Fine Arts and transitioning into the institution that exists today in 1979 as the Tampa Museum (a name switch came seven years later 1986), the Tampa Museum of Art has been at its current, Stanley Saitowitz-designed home at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa since 2010. In January of this year, the museum announced plans for its Centennial Renovation, a major effort to double the amount of exhibition space and more than triple the size of education-dedicated areas at the existing, decade-old museum building. Work on that complementary project, also led by New York-based WEISS/MANFREDI alongside general contractor Skanska USA, kicked off in June and is slated for completion late next year.
Joining the now-underway renovation at the Tampa Museum of Art, WEISS/MANFREDI’s expansion will add a luminous, three-story structure to a redeveloped site along the Hillsborough River. When completed in 2024, the low-slung addition along the Tampa riverfront will yield 51,000 square feet of new space for the museum in addition to the 25,000 square foot renovation project. Based on renderings, the glassy cantilevered structure will extend out and over the river and feature a spacious rooftop terrace.
“This is a transformational project for Tampa and the wider region,” said Michael Tomor, the Penny and Jeff Vinik Executive Director at the Tampa Museum of Art, in a statement. “After announcing our renovation earlier this year, our board and community stepped up to allow the museum to grow even further, providing overwhelmingly generous support for our community partnerships and expanded education programs.”
In total, the expansion and renovation will see the museum’s overall footprint grow from 69,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet. Education spaces, including a new auditorium and classrooms, will swell from 1,400 square feet to over 12,000 square feet while exhibition and collection space will expand from 14,800 square feet to over 43,000 square feet. Additionally, the expansion will create roughly 12,000 square feet of space dedicated to enhanced public amenities including a new sheltered entrance, main lobby, cafe, and museum store. Meanwhile, available event space will grow from its current 7,200 square feet to 25,600 square feet—that’s large enough to hold a dinner for 500.
As further detailed by the Tampa Bay Times, the potential for flooding at the waterfront site was a major design consideration and the project is aiming to achieve net-zero emissions.
The Tampa Museum of Art makeover will also extend beyond the renovated and expanded museum with plans for new landscaped public access points along Cass Street that, as detailed in a news release, will create “a seamless transition with pedestrian plazas between the public park spaces adjacent to the Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and two new dog parks.”
“We are inspired by the potential of the Tampa Museum of Art renovation and expansion to create a dynamic and inviting community destination and are thrilled to continue working with the Tampa Museum of Art to realize this extraordinary vision,” said Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.
More than 80 percent of the $80 million budget for the Centennial Renovation and just-announced expansion will be privately funded by the museum’s board of trustees and the Foundation Board of Directors, along with donations from the community and museum patrons and members. Roughly $68 million is planned for the next phase. Site redevelopment work at Curtis Hixon Park, including the aforementioned connectivity-bolstering public space enhancements, is already partially funded through a grant from the Community Revitalization Area tax fund.
While the Tampa Museum of Art’s permanent collection is markedly diverse and includes ancient, modern, and contemporary art, the museum, operating as a nonprofit since 2009, is perhaps best known for its sizable collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, which ranks as one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. Current exhibitions include, among others, Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s; HerStory: Stories of Ancient Heroines and Everyday Women, and An Irresistible Urge to Create: Florida Outsider Art from the Monroe Family Collection, a survey of work from self-taught artists hailing from the Central and West Coast regions of the Sunshine state.