Gulf Coast Museum of Art

Largo, Florida

The Gulf Coast Museum of Art is a 45,000 sf facility dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and teaching the visual arts. The project includes exhibition galleries, studios for instruction, an outdoor sculpture garden, research library, museum store, auditorium, and a master artist residence. The buildings are connected by a lightweight, steel colonnade that runs parallel to a waterway, offering views of the nearby Florida Botanical Gardens. The buildings are spaced to form intimate gardens, allowing a simple weaving of landscape and architecture while integrating the botanical gardens and museum. As visitors move through the gardens they are encouraged to observe and interact with classes and artists in the studios. 

For the galleries, an innovative lighting system was created featuring a number of north-facing skylights which punctuate the roof and deliver an even wash of natural light or a “veil of light.” The skylights are both curved and elongated in sections to filter the destructive ultraviolet rays of direct light by bouncing the light against the curved walls. The result is an incredible glow of natural light which reveals the full color spectrum—something that is impossible in artificial light. Project with Thompson and Rose Architects.