March 7, 2023

The San Diego Museum of Art Selects Foster + Partners as the Design Architect for Renovation Project

Electing a Global Studio Marks an Important Step Towards a Transformational Investment at the Museum and for San Diego

Download Full Image: HERE | Photo Credit: Javier Velez

San Diego, CA. (March 7, 2023) – Following a comprehensive search, The San Diego Museum of Art announces the selection of renowned international architectural firm Foster + Partners as the Design Architect for a future renovation project set to enhance the Museum’s facilities and visitor experience. These climate-conscious enhancements will make it possible to continue serving a diverse and growing community throughout Southern California and beyond. The project will begin its detailed planning phase in the coming months and is expected to break ground in 2026.

Situated within Balboa Park, a historic urban cultural oasis, the Museum’s renovation plan aims to increase art display and further enrich the public’s interaction with exhibitions and education programs while respecting the architectural style and historical significance of Balboa Park. The renovation project will encompass and focus on the Museum’s west-wing infrastructure and facilities, with the goal of creating a new Education Center, a pavilion that will activate visitors to celebrate art and connect with the outdoors, and a new rooftop space providing panoramic views of Balboa Park.

“After a thorough process of interviews with many exceptional firms and a unanimous vote by the board of trustees, we are delighted to have selected Foster + Partners as our Design Architect for this exciting project. Their proven experience and high respect for historical sites made Foster + Partners a great fit. Our shared vision is that this project will feature free access to open art spaces for the public and increase educational opportunities for the community,” says Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art. “Foster + Partners’ impressive expertise, combined with their commitment to community engagement, will help us create a space that makes art more accessible to everyone and, simultaneously, is functional in design and fit for the next 100 years.”

Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners and recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, says, “I have always admired San Diego’s rich cultural diversity and deep sense of community. We are delighted to be working with The San Diego Museum of Art to strengthen its roots in the area, reinvigorating a much-loved landmark with the ultimate aim of making art more accessible to the community.”

Foster + Partners is known for their innovative and sustainable design, including Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Prado Museum in Madrid, Apple Park, Norton Museum of Art, Hearst Headquarters, and the Great Court at the British Museum. The firm will work closely with the Museum and the community to create a space that enhances the visitor experience and fits within the historical heritage of Balboa Park and the cultural trajectory of San Diego.

Local firm LPA Design Studio will be collaborating with Foster + Partners as the Architect of Record. LPA is an integrated firm with six offices across California and Texas, providing sustainable design for educational, corporate, and civic facilities. LPA will focus on project management and daily oversight of the renovation project for the Museum.

“Since 1926, The San Diego Museum of Art has engaged a dialogue across art, music and performance, and visual arts, providing a rich and diverse cultural experience for all its visitors,” said Taffin Ann Ray, President of the Board of Trustees at The San Diego Museum of Art. “We are honored to have these two firms partnering with us to amplify and showcase our flourishing museum—this next chapter will further emphasize the Museum’s mission of inspiring, educating, and cultivating curiosity for all.”

The Museum plans to organize community engagement activities during the design process, such as public workshops and open house events, to gather feedback and suggestions from the community.

Updates on the project will be available at in the coming months.

About The San Diego Museum of Art

Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 20,000 works–dating from 3000 BC to present day–includes Spanish and Italian old masters, South Asian paintings including the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of Indian paintings, East Asian art, American art, and Modern and Contemporary paintings and sculptures. The Museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as an extensive year-round schedule supporting cultural and educational programs for children and adults. It also hosts engaging experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. At The San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.

The San Diego Museum of Art is located at 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego, Calif., 92101. General Information, (619) 232-7931, Group Sales: (619) 696-1935, Website:

Twitter: @SDMA, Instagram: @SanDiegoMuseumofArt Facebook: @TheSanDiegoMuseumofArt.

About Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, rooted in sustainability, which was founded over fifty years ago in 1967 by Norman Foster. Since then, he and the team around him have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation for thoughtful and pioneering design, working as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse. The studio integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, both structural and environmental, urbanism, interior and industrial design, model and film making, aeronautics and many more – with a collegiate working environment similar to a compact university. These diverse skills make Foster + Partners capable of tackling a wide range of projects, particularly those of considerable complexity and scale. “Design is at the core of everything that we do. We design buildings, spaces and cities; we listen, we question, and we innovate.”

With over 16 offices worldwide, the studio’s global experience spanning over five decades has always been grounded in the communities within which they operate. In 2022, Foster + Partners opened its latest studio in Los Angeles. “We collate best practice from all over the world, while creating solutions that a specifically tailored to the demands of the site.”

For more information visit:
Twitter: @fosterpartners, Instagram: @fosterandpartners LinkedIn: Foster + Partners | LinkedIn

About LPA Design Studio

Founded in 1965, LPA specializes in creating innovative environments that work better, do more with less and improve people’s lives. An integrated design firm with more than 400 in-house architects, master planners, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and research analysts, LPA is focused on a research-driven, inclusive design approach to developing better performing facilities. In 2021, LPA earned AIA-California’s Firm Award, the state industry’s highest honor for an architecture practice. For more information, visit