Manetti Shrem Museum of Art / 2016

ArchitectSO-IL Architects

Executive ArchitectBohlin Cywinski Jackson

The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis houses formal gallery space, art-making spaces, classrooms, study areas, outdoor projection walls, and a 15,000 ft2 (1,400 m2) covered entrance court that invites relaxation. The entrance court canopy unifies the whole project with a single design gesture and shades nearly 70% of the 75,000 ft2 (7000 m2) project site.

During the design process, Front developed options to meet the canopy’s numerous design constraints and custom details for the frameless 14 ft (4.3m) tall, curved, laminated glass walls with integrated glass doors. The canopy design objectives included high light permeability, free-spans up to 35 ft (11m), and a low budget. The optimized design solution uses triangular beams, constructed of only 1/8 inch (3mm) thick perforated aluminum with up to 40% open perforation area, and uses an aluminum alloy and finish that balances cost savings, visual quality and long-term performance. The frameless glass walls incorporate custom components to accommodate large seismic movements and facilitate precision installation and adjustment for flush alignment at glass joints.

Front was additionally engaged by the facade contractor to produce shop drawings, calculations, and fabrication drawings, while providing factory review. Front used parametric techniques and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to auto-generate digital and paper fabrication information for the project’s 910 beams, all with unique off-cuts and splice locations. This level of complexity would not have been manageable using traditional methods, but was efficiently coordinated using Front’s three-dimensional data management process, streamlining drawing fabrication and shop fabrication of all components. Front’s fabrication information fed directly into the factory’s workflow, which included CNC turret punching, folding, riveting and robot welding.