Among the Greek and Roman antiquities, the Henri Matisse masterpieces and other exhibitions that are expected to draw visitors to the new Tampa Museum of Art will be a collection called the Hidden City, a series of multimedia presentations devoted to the theme of urbanism during the past 30 years.
Fitting, then, that the exterior of the building itself – which was designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz to dramatically alter the cityscape of downtown Tampa – has a hidden local connection.
The 3,798 perforated aluminum panels that wrap the museum's upper levels and its atrium were provided by Tampa-based McNichols Company. The facade features two layers of one-eighth-inch panels, perforated by three-inch diameter holes situated one inch apart.
The positioning of the panels, which combine and overlap to cover about 96,000 square feet, creates a ripple effect when viewed during the day.
"The new Tampa Museum of Art is the ideal urban home for a new way of thinking about the importance of art to everyday life," museum Executive Director Todd Smith says. "We hope it will be a place to encourage dialogue and creativity, serve as a catalyst to community interaction and, most importantly, become a center for the rebirth of downtown Tampa."
McNichols is a family owned company founded in Cleveland in 1952. The company moved its corporate headquarters to Tampa in 1978.
It provides a broad range of construction materials, with an emphasis on metal, and bills itself as North America's leading provider and fabricator of perforated and expanded metal, wire cloth, flooring and grating.
The museum, which opened to the public on February 6, is located adjacent to the recently completed Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and near the soon-to-open Glazer Children's Museum.
Writer: Carter Gaddis
Sources: Nancy Kipnis, Tampa Museum of Art; Mary Estes, Estes & Co.