Inside the Bass Museum’s Big New Renovation




This Monday, the Bass Museum of Art reopened its galleries for a press preview, after a multi-year renovation and expansion, approximately doubling in size within the same physical footprint. This is along with a new website, new art acquisition initiative, and new name of sorts. Now, it’s just ‘The Bass.’

The building was originally designed by Russell Pancoast, one of the earliest and most seminal of South Florida’s great architects. The museum reengaged the architectural team of David Gauld, now the project’s principal architect, and Arata Isozaki as a consultant, both of whom worked on the museum’s first expansion in 2001 for the latest renovation. Designer Jonathan Caplan took charge of many of the interior elements. Overall, Gauld, Isozaki and Caplan worked to correct and improve on a number of elements of the 2001 design, being sensitive to the historic 1930s structure facing Collins Park and much more efficiently using the museum’s limited space.

The ramp, the most dramatic element of the 2001 renovation, is gone, with an atrium-like common area, grand staircase, and multiple new exhibition spaces, put in its place. A large new education wing with three spacious classrooms is in the northwest, while a courtyard on the north side of the structure has been enclosed but retains the feeling of being outside. To the west, a wing where the lower level of the ramp once was, creatively utilizes the museum’s historic collection, while the emphasis of the rest of the structure appears to be much more about contemporary art. The museum will be reopening to the public on October 29th. Check out the photo tour below.

Hover over a photo for the caption, or click to expand.

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