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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Sahm

The Sahm Seaview Room at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

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The redesign, led by the firm’s founder, Annabelle Selldorf, has gracefully unified a jumble of buildings from various eras, added 30,000 square feet of gallery space and reoriented the entire structure to the stunning feature it had long turned its back on: the Pacific Ocean.

The glass doors in the Sahm Seaview Room at MCASD can be fully opened to the outdoors to admit fresh air, and also connect the space with the adjacent art park. (K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

At MCASD, there is the Sahm Seaview Room, in which Selldorf Architects took what was once the cafe’s loading dock and transformed it into a glass-walled event space that can be fully opened to connect with the outdoor art park.

These design moves, conceived prior to the pandemic, now feel incredibly prescient.

The museum, which reopened to the public on April 9, now has a more prominent entrance, improved circulation routes and greater accessibility — including a wheelchair lift on the western side of the building, which can draw a visitor straight up to the terrace areas rather than requiring a zigzag journey up a very steep grade.

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