North elevation and museum entrance


Pasadena Museum of California Art


Pasadena, CA


City of Pasadena

Size and Cost:

30,000 SF; $3.5 M






Steve Johnson, Jim Favaro


Jim Favaro

Project Architect:

Steve Johnson

AIA Institute:

Design Award, 2002

Located in downtown Pasadena, the Pasadena Museum of California Art is a 30,000 SF privately-funded public museum for the display of travelling collections of California art. The three-story building consists of a street level lobby and parking at the ground floor; the main lobby, main gallery, community room, and gift shop on the second floor; a smaller gallery, garden, large community meeting room and terrace on the third floor. The garden and terrace afford views of the dome of Pasadena city hall to the west and the San Gabriel Mountains to the north.

The parted "drapery folds" of the facade that reveal the automobile and pedestrian entry create a vocabulary of shapes that repeats across the sequence of entry from street level up to the main stair. The culmination of this progression is a second-floor open-air lobby that places the visitor between the gallery entrance to the south and the large opening in the main facade framing the view of the mountains to the north. 


Visitors on Location