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Museum of the American Indian (MAI)

Winner - Silver

Competition: Spark:Space
Designer: Kuth/Ranieri Architects
Design Type: Spaces - Public Architecture
Company / Organization / School: Kuth/Ranieri Architects
Website: http://www.kuthranieri.com
Team Members: Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA (Kuth/Ranieri Architects); Byron Kuth, FAIA (Kuth/Ranieri Architects); Eliza Koshland (Kuth/Ranieri Architects); William Liow (Kuth/Ranieri Architects); David Friedman (Forrell Elsesser Engineers); Frank Rollo (Treadwell & Rollo); Kristen Lease (Treadwell & Rollo); Jeffrey Miller (Miller Company Landscape Architects)

The Museum of the American Indian is the only cultural resource of its kind in the Bay Area. Kuth/Ranieri Architects worked with the Museum to develop a proposal for a new state-of-the-art facility that celebrates the Museum’s mission to protect an exceptional collection of artifacts and educate over 4,000 school children a year about America’s first people. The site was a Miwok Village one hundred years ago and now serves as a city park. Our approach extends the site’s native history, recognizes the sacredness of the site, and assimilates to the surrounding community. The site strategy connects the park and museum, so that each is an amenity to the other. The building design is inspired by traditional Miwok kotchas and sweat lodges. We embraced how these simple structures reveal their use and assembly. Adopting their sensibility, which combines nature and community to heighten the spirit of place, the museum and educational spaces are organized around an outdoor courtyard within the forested site. Here, the native cosmology of earth, sky, and water come together and are expressed by the roof. A transparent inverted canopy frames the sky and delivers rainwater to a water well feature at the center of the gathering space.