@TMA … by Stanley Saitowitz

Posted in opinion, other architects, projects by DS26 on 05.26.2010

Before we begin our journey at the windy city, Chicago.. and possibly the dissection of all mid-century modern that will surround us… we thought we’d give you the latest and greatest of Florida.

The new Tampa Museum of Art, by Stanley Saitowitz, was the last building we visited with analytical (and possibly judgmental) eyes.

Sitting robust, clean cut, and definitely contemporary, it is located right on the water in downtown Tampa.

We had been watching it for a while. Truth is, one rarely sees such a ‘clean box’ around Florida, and it, in fact, gave us hope.

The first surprise, getting from the parking lot, past and around the new children’s museum, is the very deep cantilever.

What a shocker !

We had seen such cantilevers before ( DS+R’s Institute of Contemporary Art, in Boston ) in person and in pictures.

But in Florida?… a first.

The clean lines continued, what seemed infinitely… and the metal skin just became more intriguing as we approached. That could be said for just about everyone arriving.

So what’s with the funky metal skin?

Yes, so we asked ourselves…

Firstly, it is a triple skin. We thought: interesting… It is glass, then metal, then metal again.

So… Any purpose to all this complexity ?

Well, we think Stan chose the second metal layer for two reasons (cost increase aside)

1. aesthetic purposes… and this is primary : to give the building a dynamic feel. It’s a static ‘box’ that seems in motion, and active.

2. only guessing here… secondary : reduction of heat gain, and light control.

Any material is better than no material, and 3 layers is definitely better than 2. So, it may work as any other dbl-skin with an air layer within… reducing interior heat gain. This makes sense since it sits in the Florida sun, completely unobstructed.

Light control, because like any other art museum, the work must be preserved. The punched metal allows plenty of light in, where needed, but it has to find its way around the two metal layers’ punches, therefore defragmenting. So, within, it becomes defused in a way… indirect.

What we found upon arrival, inside… a clean, modern, light-and-metal-filled space.

A place where anyone (even a toddler) would find comfort in roaming the halls… (meant, open lobby)

It was refreshing !

Also inside…

Another shocker !

An ORANGE elevator… and you do know how we love orange (have you seen our pics?)

That is plain and simple a BOLD statement. An orange elevator… a single item/detail in the entire building of cool metal and glass.

Now we are fairly certain that Stan is our kind of guy… most definitely.

Lastly, to demonstrate a true Architect… one that takes nothing for granted. For one that not even the smallest, or most insignificant thing should be left un-thought, unattended, or un-designed…

Throughout the interiors, where the art is displayed, every single concrete floor joint matched perfectly reflected to every single ceiling sound-absorbing panel.

No joke !

Double joints, approximately 32-36 inches apart, that met with the edges of each long panel above… plus the coolest air diffusers we’ve ever encountered in a public project in Florida.

(in the picture below, which we were not supposed to take -oops-, you should be able to see the joints bottom right…     and match them to the top.)

So next time you are in Florida… and pass by Tampa, do visit the TMA by Saitowitz.

You will be surprised from arrival, to your momentary visit to the ‘cubical subtraction’ (the terrace) in the second floor. We cannot tell you what you will find there… it’s too good to give away, and you must see it for yourself.

Drop by for the art… But definitely for the building. Be inspired, like we were… and remember that Architecture is as much an Art as all of the pictures hanging on those wall.

Architecture is an Art that, combined with the sciences, is meant (supposed) to enhance people’s lives.

~ don’t forget to have a Gelato while you’re at it… in a place where everything, even the cups, are cool !

~ Yummy !

for more about Stanley Saitowitz, you can visit his portfolio here : http://www.saitowitz.com/


2 Responses

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  1. Cindy Frewen Wuellner said, on 05.26.2010 at 10:52

    Thanks for the architecture comments. I bet this is a spectacular space. Old school modern monumentality with new school skin.

    Next time I’m in Sarasota (where we regularly visit friends), I will take a trip to see this beauty.

    Two comments: Suppose with that extra metal skin, it’s not a green building? and could they have done more at the site level to connect to the city? Think we should always be building walkable places. No one’s lingering on those lost chairs.

    Love to see your ideas about architecture; happy to encourage you to post more!! Look forward to your Chicago notes. So much new – Piano, Gang, Calatrava. a feast. enjoy!


    • 26at41 said, on 05.26.2010 at 11:09

      Cindy, thank you for your note..

      Actually, you would be surprised about how much those precast concrete chairs are used. They overlook a wonderful park (which includes a kids park, and a doggie park), and the water.
      (we took the picture really early.. so it is not peak)

      As the day went on, the people just appeared… and it was incredibly active.

      We have to give props to the City of Tampa because they did an outstanding job allowing for the building, and in the development of that area overall.
      We are definitely fans, and they are setting the bar high for all other Cities (and City Officials) in Florida.

      Sustainable? I am not sure. It has sustainable features, but have not read much regarding that.

      ~ We do strongly recommend a visit… It is a very enjoyable space and building.

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