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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 3:07 PM
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sakyle04 sakyle04 is offline
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Smithsonian affiliate museum, Museo Alameda, opens in DT San Antonio




Sorry about the tiny picture. It is a rendering that is taken from the MiTierra website... http://www.mitierracafe.com/

This new museum is "the first museum in the country that tells the story of the Latino experience in America". It is located in Market Square and has an anticipated yearly attendence of 400,000...

Below is the Express-News review of the design of the new museum...

Review: Design gives only a nod to tradition

http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertai...w.20ca7af.html

Mike Greenberg
Express-News Senior Critic


For such a small building, the new Museo Alameda del Smithsonian makes a mighty big statement.

The bold colors of its main stuccoed volume and the delicate, layered tracery of its entry pavilion radiate energy from its strategic downtown site.

But the building also makes a big statement about how architecture can express the reality of a living culture in a fully contemporary vocabulary, without resorting to stereotype or kitsch.

Conceived as the first affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museo Alameda has as its mission "to tell the story of the Latino experience in America through art, history and culture."

An easy and obvious response to that mission would have been to tart up the building in picturesque drag — you know, graceful arches and tile roofs and rose windows, suitable for being photographed with demure señoritas, smiling behind their fans.

But that approach would have been disastrous, architecturally, and would have sent the wrong message, culturally.

The Latino experience has a deep past, but it also has a vibrant, multifaceted present and shows every sign of having a long and ever more diverse future.

Happily, the design for the Museo Alameda draws on tradition but keeps it in its proper place, as a platform for the present and future.

The design firm was Jackson & Ryan Architects, a Houston firm with strong experience in museums — the same firm handled the latest renovation of the McNay Art Museum.
The partner in charge, Jeff Ryan, worked with the Philadelphia firm Venturi, Scott Brown & Assoc. and was a partner in Morris Architects of Houston before forming his current partnership with former San Antonian Guy Jackson in 1986.

Some of the culturally specific character of the project is the architect's interpretation of ideas that came from the local community and from Henry Muñoz, the founder of the museum's parent organization, Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture.

Though he is not himself an architect, Muñoz is board chairman of Kell-Muñoz Architects, and in that capacity he has expended a good deal of thought on the question of what constitutes a contemporary architecture of the Texas-Mexico borderland.

The museum building isn't entirely new. The two-story box of the main volume was originally a 1920s market building, which was badly renovated in the 1980s as an assembly hall called Centro de Artes.

To create the 40,000-square-foot museum, deep arcades on the north and south sides of the building were removed, and new structures were built projecting from the original box.

The solution was controversial. The San Antonio Conservation Society bitterly objected to the removal of the arcades. As construction of the museum advanced, passersby in Market Square could be heard to complain that the crisply modern new building didn't "fit in."

But the old market building had lost most of its historic character in its renovation in the 1980s, and the new museum actually fits the scale and rhythms of Market Square very nicely.

The museum's signature facade is on the east. The new entry pavilion is a two-story glass box, crisply detailed with aluminum mullions and butt-jointed corners, set deep within a steel cage. Steel cables stretched across the top of the cage structure can support banners or shading devices above the entry's open-air forecourt.

On the upper level, north and south of the glass box, the steel frame holds cast-aluminum openwork panels in an abstract design that refers to iconic Mexican images — the Virgin of Guadalupe, the eagle, the headdress of Quetzalcoatl — and the Smithsonian's sunburst logo. (One panel was broken during installation, and a replacement is on the way.)

A simplified version of that design was cut into stainless steel panels that form a two-story screen wall on the east. The screen wall also recalls the Mexican folk craft of punched metal work, or hojalata.

Special lighting, planned to illuminate this entry ensemble in a dramatic way at night, was not viewable in time for my deadline, but even in daylight the whole east facade is a magnet for the eye and a superb gateway to Market Square. Inside the glazed pavilion, daylight passing through the exterior screen wall, and reflecting off the shiny black sealed-concrete floor, creates a magical jewel-box effect.

Just south of the entry, facing Market Square's pedestrian promenade, a balcony-covered space is intended for use as an outdoor stage, so the museum can participate in the square's many live-music events.

At the corner of Commerce and Santa Rosa streets, a small sculpture garden is open to the elements and the public, but secluded behind a concrete block wall whose dark gray color, rough texture and smeared mortar evoke the look of volcanic stone walls. Set into the blocks near the top of the wall are little concave medallions of real volcanic rock — they're actually molcajetes.

The interior of the wall, facing the sculpture garden, incorporates benches covered in iridescent glass mosaic tile work by Oscar Alvarado.

Other finely crafted custom furniture includes the volcanic stone front desk in the entry pavilion and mesquite benches throughout the building, all by Peter Glassford.

A "piñata" lantern by Chuck Ramirez and Andy Benavides hangs in a stairwell, near a large window that frames a view of Jesse Treviño's nine-story tile mural on a wall of the Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, across Milam Square from the museum.

The main gallery spaces are on the second floor, which was added to the existing structure. The original roof trusses were left exposed. The first level is carved into several smallish spaces for a multimedia exhibit and other special purposes.

Also on the first level, in new construction projecting out from the original stucco box, is the museum shop. It is designed by artist Franco Mondini-Ruiz, who made a big splash nationally in the 1990s with installations — and an actual shop called Infinito Botánica — that were based on the traditional Mexican botánica. The museum store's foyer is a Mondini-Ruiz botánica installation.

Back-of-house functions seem to be adequately addressed, especially given that the museum has no permanent collection, except for a few pieces.

The new construction includes secure and climate-controlled access for semitrailers — essential for accreditation and for the loading of temporary exhibits, including works from the Smithsonian.

The only quibbles about the architecture concern stretches of blank wall along the Commerce Street facade and on a part of the rear exposed to Market Square. A little surface articulation would have been nice, but at least there's some landscaping along the Commerce Street sidewalk.

Although the museum's modernist architectural idiom contrasts with Market Square's early-20th-century brick commercial buildings, the museum's setbacks and other articulations approximate the rhythms of the historic structures across the way. Its balcony railing clearly responds to its older counterparts, as do the shade canopies above the store windows.

Those canopies have a story to tell. They consist of thin, light aluminum louvers set inside heavy welded steel-beam frames.

The aluminum louvers are manufactured products that speak of the present. But the frame that holds them and gives them meaning evokes the building crafts of a rich regional tradition.

Thus a modest architectural detail subtly encapsulates the Museo Alameda's mission.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 3:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakyle04 View Post
...This new museum is "the first museum in the country that tells the story of the Latino experience in America"...
A quick correction...

The Museo Alameda was “conceived as the first affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution,” who’s sole mission is dedicated to telling "…the story of the Latino experience in America through art, history and culture." Not the first, overall, museum in the U.S. to do so...

There are several museums in the U.S. which describe the Latin American culture and how it has developed not only in the U.S., but in the rest of the Americas. In fact, S.A. already has at least one museum which devotes a huge section to the Latin American culture - UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures, which opened in 1968!

Nevertheless, I like the idea and design!! And, I plan on visiting the next time I'm in S.A.
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Last edited by GoldenBoot; Apr 13, 2007 at 3:27 PM.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 3:21 PM
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sakyle04 sakyle04 is offline
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I'll blame my misinformation on Henry Munoz:

"This is the first museum in the country that tells the story of the Latino experience in America," says Henry R. Muñoz III, founding chairman of the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, the nonprofit organization behind the construction of the museum.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertai...in.dcbfa1.html

The possibility exists that it was the first when it was approved over a decade ago. It was also, reportedly, the first Smithsonian affiliate, although the delays in opening the Museo actually mean that many have built and opened before this one.

No matter, it is another great magnet for downtown.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 6:03 PM
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Agreed...
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 7:29 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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The Market Square area of west downtown was really popping yesterday at about 1 when I was down there. Counstruction on The Vistana is coming along nicely and man do I think turning the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District into housing would be great. I think you keep the facade and add 10 stories to it.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 7:44 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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This is the building I am talking about. It has a fantastic art deco facade.



It is directly diagonal to The Vistana and just a block east of Market Square. It's also a very long building.
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Old Posted Apr 13, 2007, 7:48 PM
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sakyle04 sakyle04 is offline
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Quote:
Counstruction on The Vistana is coming along nicely
Any pictures of this???

Quote:
and man do I think turning the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District into housing would be great. I think you keep the facade and add 10 stories to it.
Adding 10 stories would probably be un feasible from an engineering standpoint, but saving a facade and building from within is doable and could be really interesting...
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2007, 1:33 AM
sarocks14 sarocks14 is offline
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The museum looks..fair I guess..better renderings and in person might make it look better
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2007, 2:34 AM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Originally Posted by sakyle04 View Post
Any pictures of this???



Adding 10 stories would probably be un feasible from an engineering standpoint, but saving a facade and building from within is doable and could be really interesting...
No pictures, sorry.

Also, I mean demolish the entire thing except for the facade and add 10-15 stories to the three already there.
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2007, 12:59 PM
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sakyle04 sakyle04 is offline
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Quote:
Also, I mean demolish the entire thing except for the facade and add 10-15 stories to the three already there.


I like this idea. It would go great with Vistana.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2007, 1:05 AM
Christianmx Christianmx is offline
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Well I didn't know about this but when I heard about it on the ignaguration day I rushed downtown with a friend and took some pics =P I was looking forward to seeing and hearing mariachis but the crowds made it impossible. I will share the pics soon enough, not many because we didn't stay long.
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