Envisioned as a pivotal project in the revitalization of downtown Fresno, the design for the new Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Arts and Science is the first planned element in the city’s new Arts District.
This project was designed by Wil Carson during his time as Senior Director at MMA. The design uses an informal series of paths within and among the building’s three central piers encourages movement and activity across the entire the urban block. Beneath the cantilevered parasol of the museum’s galleries, a reflective pool animates the building’s faceted belly. The plane of the plaza is crafted to allow the creation of this seasonal microclimate through incremental flooding—creating a series of areas at several scales that reflect the museum’s philosophy of interrelationship across varied scales and disciplines.
Above the plaza, the regional art and science museum is organized around a series of permanent science galleries and a large flexible art gallery. From this Gallery Level, visitors can access the roof via an open-air amphitheater, which serves both as part of the museum’s larger media center and as a forum for independent cultural events. The museum’s permanent collection accessible to the public through a display system of vitrines distributed as a field across the program of the museum, providing an immersive view of collections storage through a double-height viewing space.