San Diego Museum of Art
A view of the San Diego Museum of Art with the west wing at left. Photo by Javier Velez

The San Diego Museum of Art has hired a prestigious British architectural firm to renovate the contemporary west wing of the Balboa Park institution.

The project includes creating a new education center, public spaces for art, and a new rooftop pavilion providing panoramic views of the park.

“This project will feature free access to open art spaces for the public and increase educational opportunities for the community,” said Roxana Velásquez, executive director and CEO of the museum, on Tuesday.

London-based Foster + Partners has been hired to “create a space that enhances the visitor experience and fits within the historical heritage of Balboa Park and the cultural trajectory of San Diego.”

The firm is known for its museum renovations, with recent projects for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Great Court at the British Museum.

“Their proven experience and high respect for historical sites made Foster + Partners a great fit,” said Velásquez, adding that the goal is to “create a space that makes art more accessible to everyone and, simultaneously, is functional in design and fit for the next 100 years.”

Norman Foster, the firm’s founder and a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, said he looked forward to “reinvigorating a much-loved landmark with the ultimate aim of making art more accessible to the community.”

The museum plans to organize community engagement activities during the design process, such as public workshops and open house events, to gather feedback and suggestions from the community.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.