World-Class Design Expected For New Tampa Museum

Tampa Museum Design

Architect Mickey Jacob is the immediate past president of the Florida AIA - American Institute of Architects - and is currently on the national AIA board.

Jacob had offered to have the AIA co-sponsor a museum design competition but the museum never responded.

JACOB: I think it would have been a fun process... ideas are developed locally and then pin those up in public forums... that's what this is boiling down to this debate, This would have been a wonderful opportunity for this city.

Jacob attended several public meetings about the new art museum's design and site including the ill-fated selection of Rafael Vinoly's design five years ago that proved too costly and controversial.

Some celebrated Vinoly's design while others criticized it - Jacobs says most of those opinions were subjective.

JACOB: Whether you liked that building or not, is it a world renowned building - well, it turned out not to be.

He says a world class building should take your breath away. When you walk inside - a world class museum design should excite and spur you on to explore.

JACOB: Whether it's a free form of Frank Gehry... Getty in L.A., it's a wonderful design. It responds to what is going on around.

He says Tampa citizens should expect no less that world class design even if the budget - $25-million and the size - 60,000 square feet - are considered modest in the realm of museum design.

JACOB: This building has the opportunity to be a signature building for our city and make our city recognizable. we should be as a community demanding it whoever is selected it to design.

The museum's building committee initially closed its meetings to the public and media. The process has been opened since and the public is being allowed 15 minutes for questions and comments at today's three architectural presentations.

The museum board plans to select the winning architect the next day. And, there no additional opportunities for community input are planned according to Museum interim director Ken Rollins

ROLLINS: Ultimately, we will present the design to the city for their information of course. And that's part of our schedule but we will have a design committee. The makeup of that is not determined yet and they will work with the senior staff and with the architect based on the architectural program to develop the schematics and ultimately working drawings.

Rollins says there's no requirement for the city to signoff on the design, but the museum hopes it will.

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