Tampa Museum of Art a ‘neutral box’ with striking architecture


The Tampa Museum of Art was designed by San Francisco architect Stanley Saitowitz and opened in 2010 in Hixon Waterfront Park.

Sometimes architects design buildings that, intentionally or otherwise, look like something else – Lord Norman Foster’s cucumber-shaped office tower in London, for example. Its nickname is “The Gherkin.”

Other times, buildings are intended to look like nothing in particular. The Tampa Museum of Art is such a building.

“It doesn’t symbolize or express anything,” architect Stanley Saitowitz said at the opening of the $26.6 million, 66,000-square-foot building in February 2010. It is a neutral box, “a scaffold, to be completed by its contents.”

The Tampa Museum of Art on opening day in 2010. Architect Stanley Saitowitz called the building “a scaffold, to be completed by its contents.”

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He described it as “a hyphen between the ground and sky.”

The building’s appearance as a silver monolith perched on a knoll above the Hillsborough River is interrupted only by a single gash at the entrance and two large cubic forms removed from the west and south facades that create viewing platforms. There are few windows.



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