LMN Architects

A groundbreaking ceremony today marked the start of the Seattle Asian Art Museum's $54 million renovation and expansion to the original early 20th-century home of the Seattle Art Museum.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum, which closed for the renovation in February 2017, is one of three locations of the Seattle Art Museum. The original museum opened as the Seattle Art Museum on June 29, 1933, in an Art Deco building designed by Bebb and Gould, and housed the Asian art collections of Richard E. Fuller and Margaret E. MacTavish Fuller, the museum's benefactors.

As the collection expanded, so too did the museum. Expansions in the 1940s and 1950s designed by J. Lister Holmes, Young, Richardson, Carleton, and Detlie added some space to the building, and in Dec. 5, 1991, a new location designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates opened in downtown Seattle. Three years later, on Aug. 13, 1994, the original museum building reopened as the Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum triad opened its most recent location, the Olympic Sculpture Park, as well as an expansion by Allied Works Architecture to the downtown location, in 2007.

Designed by local firm LMN Architects, this latest expansion project for the Seattle museum will add 13,900 square feet to the museum's building and renovate the existing structure. The project includes upgrading the HVAC system and accessibility and adding a glass-enclosed lobby, a freight elevator, and new gallery. The renovated and expanded building is expected to reopen in 2019.

"The architectural design approach to the Bebb and Gould–designed Art Deco building parallels the curatorial goals, which seek to create relevance and meaning between the past and the present," LMN Architects notes in an online project description. "Simultaneously, the design is focused on strengthening the relationship between the building and the park—from the outside in and the inside out."