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Mingei International Museum


Project Name

Mingei International Museum

Size

54,000 GSF

Location

San Diego, CA

Client

Luce et Studio

Awards

2022 AIANY Design Awards, Interiors Honor Award

Notable Press

New York Times, September 2, 2021
Architectural Record, December 2021

Project Name

Mingei International Museum

Size

54,000 GSF

Location

San Diego, CA

Client

Luce et Studio

Awards

2022 AIANY Design Awards, Interiors Honor Award

Notable Press

New York Times, September 2, 2021
Architectural Record, December 2021

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Mingei International Museum Acoustics project
Mingei International Museum restaurant
Mingei International Museum art library

Originally founded in 1978, the Mingei International Museum in San Diego ‘collects, conserves and exhibits arts of daily use’ – created by many unknown or indigenous craftspeople as well as renowned artisans – dating from ancient times to today.

Housed in an historic building designed for the 1915-1917 Panama-California Exposition, the Mingei is one of the major entrance points to Balboa Park, the cultural heart of San Diego.

In 2015, the Mingei hired Luce et Studio Architects to design a comprehensive renovation and expansion of the historic facility, with a goal of making it more visible and accessible to a wider audience. The interior of the museum was re-envisioned, opening six blind arches and replacing them with massive glass and wood doors, to give the public spaces and galleries direct visual connection to Balboa Park and Alcazar Garden; welcoming the public with a new, inviting and intriguing façade.

Acentech collaborated with the Luce et Studio team to develop acoustical criteria for spaces based on room function, and proposed room shaping and finishes. Embracing the functional noise from the lively entry points, while containing the noise buildup due to activities in these areas from spilling into the galleries and library, was an important alliance of the acoustical and architectural designs.

The auditory experience of the 120-seat multi-purpose theater (created from an unused loading dock) anticipates the wide variety of uses required by the museum, and permits multiple seating and performance configurations. Refreshed iThe auditory experience of the 120-seat multi-purpose theater (designed in place of an unused loading dock) anticipates the wide variety of uses required by the museum, and permits multiple seating and performance configurations. Refreshed interiors highlight original exposed beams and columns, visible throughout the building.

The new arts research library is separated from the main galleries by a glass wall, encouraging visitors to drop in and learn more about the exhibits while maintaining a comfortable, quiet ambiance using floating felt panels at the 16’ ceiling. Acentech also provided sound isolation options for the staff offices and boardroom to ensure privacy, evaluated the museum’s mechanical equipment, and calculated recommendations to mitigate anticipated noise from these systems.

Known for celebrating the beautiful and unusual, the Mingei International Museum is now, itself, a beautiful and unusual addition to San Diego’s cultural scene.

‘Acentech approached the acoustic condition of each space with thoughtful care whilst at the same time considering the complex intersection of physical program that is the hallmark of the museum’s transformational identity. Without fear of uniting galleries with food service, or retail with quiet space, Acentech acted with the precision of a surgeon to weave all acoustic conditions together with grace. This project would not have been successful without this exacting care.’

Jennifer Luce, FAIA, Founding Principal, Luce et Studio