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Museum of the African Diaspora

Museum of the African Diaspora

Located in the heart of the Yerba Buena cultural district of San Francisco, the Museum of the African Diaspora was designed by the Freelon Group and opened in 2005. The museum celebrates the history, art, and culture of people of African descent across the globe through its collections, while also prompting visitors to appreciate the so-called “original African Diaspora,” referring to the movement of modern humans from the African continent to the rest of the inhabited world. Occupying three floors of the St. Regis Museum Tower designed by SOM, the project establishes its own identity and welcomes the public in at street level by strategically angling its entrance canopy to intersect with the city grid. Prominent features include the north entrance on Mission Street, with a photograph mosaic layered behind the curtain wall façade that symbolizes the museum’s aspiration to collect the myriad voices and traditions of the African diaspora. The museum’s fluid, flexible design—a response to pre-existing allocations made by the developer—was recognized by the AIA with a South Atlantic Region Merit Award in 2006.

On the outskirts: On the left, large windows capture the vibrant urban quality of the surrounding context and on the right the museum captivates the visitor.  On the stairs a cascading shadow from the window frames creates a diamond pattern of sunlight spanning each step.

On the outskirts: On the left, large windows capture the vibrant urban quality of the surrounding context and on the right the museum captivates the visitor. On the stairs a cascading shadow from the window frames creates a diamond pattern of sunlight spanning each step.

A glimpse of the exhibition space: an industrial ceiling, spotlights that shine down on hardwood floors, the reflection of the perforated walls of the museum and exhibition islands, all create a gallery for viewing.

A glimpse of the exhibition space: an industrial ceiling, spotlights that shine down on hardwood floors, the reflection of the perforated walls of the museum and exhibition islands, all create a gallery for viewing.