UC Davis Arts Venues Among the Best

It’s what’s inside AND outside that counts at UC Davis’ art museum and arts performing center — both rated among the best of their kind in separate listings last week.

Manetti Shrem Museum

ARTnews puts the UC Davis art museum in very good company with, among others, the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven and the Odunpazari Modern Art Museum in the Turkish university town of Eskisehir; Paris Louvre (expanded and modernized) and New York City‘s Guggenheim; the newer Louvre Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Guggenheim Bilbao (Spain); the Center Pompidou (Paris), MAXXI (Rome) and Kunst Haus Vienna; the Museo Tamayo (Mexico City) and the Teshima Art Museum (located on a small island off Japan, the museum has just one artwork); and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, among the museums of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC

The list, according to ARTnews, is a collection of Some of the most important museum buildings of the past 100 years, including influential modernist experiments and polarizing postmodern expansions, architectural oddities and beloved additions, circular museums and glassed-in pyramids. “These structures proposed strange, new possibilities for how a museum ought to look—and, in some cases, changed the cultural landscape altogether,” the magazine says.

The physical landscape figures in the design of the Manetti Shrem Museum’s Grand Canopy. ARTnews calls it the building’s main focal point and notes how the architectural team from “the up-and-coming New York firm SO-IL” was inspired in its design work by the agricultural fields around the Davis campus — leading to a similar grid pattern for the canopy’s aluminum beams.

ARTnews describes the museum as “sun-filled” and notes how the open and permeable canopy offsets the intense heat that would otherwise pummel the building. Lastly, ARTnews mentions a feature of the museum’s corrugated facade: a “smooth zone” that serves as a screen for videos and images.

Read the ARTnews article.

Jackson Hall: “A visual stunner, paneled from floor to ceiling in virgin Douglas fir, originally logged in the 1800s.”

Mondavi Center

“Clad in sandstone tiles, this eye-catching structure on the UC Davis campus is as grand and a modern an arts venue as any in the state,” Visit California declares in an article posted Jan. 27.

It describes the 1,801-seat Jackson Hall (the center’s largest auditorium) as “a visual stunner, paneled from floor to ceiling in virgin Douglas fir originally logged in the 1800s.” Parenthetically, Visit California notes the wood came from the bottom of a lake in Canada, and some of the sections may actually be 500 years old.

The center has another performance space inside, the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, in which seating can be configured in multiple ways (maximum 250 people); and an outdoor performance space, the Corin Courtyard.

Guided tours (suspended at this time) shed light on the Mondavi Center’s advanced design features, including an orchestra shell that elevates on air casters.

Read the Visit California article.

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