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UC Davis Shrem Museum of Art

SO – IL, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson





University of California, Davis


  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • General Contractor: Whiting - Turner
  • Structural Engineer: Rutherford Chekene
  • Mechanical Engineer: WSP Flack + Kurtz
  • Landscape Architect: Office of Cheryl Barton
  • Civil Engineer: Cunningham Engineers

Year Completed



29,000 sq. feet

Certifications and Designations

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Project Description

In our proposal for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art we tried to capture the spirit of the California Central Valley—the sense of empowerment from being able to cultivate and grow freely – a spirit of optimism, imagination and invention.
As an overarching move, we propose a 50,000 square-foot permeable cover—a ‘Grand Canopy’—over both site and building. The distinct shape of this open roof presents a new symbol for the campus. The Canopy extends over the site, blurring its edges, and creating a sensory landscape of activities and scales.
Like the Central Valley, the landscape under the Canopy becomes shaped and activated by changing light and seasons. Its unique form engenders curiosity from a distance, like a lone hill on a skyline.
Interwoven curved and straight sections seamlessly define inside and outside. The result is a portfolio of interconnected interior and exterior spaces, all with distinct spatial qualities and characteristics that trigger diverse activities and create informal opportunities for learning and interaction.
The future art museum is neither isolated nor exclusive, but open and permeable; not a static shrine, but a constantly evolving public event.

The winning design was by the associated architectural team of SO-IL, based in New York, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, from San Francisco. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson will also serve as executive architects.
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