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Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle Asian Art Museum expansion ‘topping out’

(Image: Richard Beckerman and Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum)

From the Seattle Art Museum

The last beams are going in place for the steel framework of the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s expansion, located on the east side of the historic building in Volunteer Park.

Installation of structural steel began in June 2018. Visitors to the park can now see the outline of the new structure containing three floors, including a new gallery that will accommodate more of the museum’s collections and exhibitions. The renovation and expansion project will also add a much-needed dedicated Education space.

As the work on the expansion continues (just one part of the Museum’s major renovation project), final exterior finishes including a glass curtain wall and new precast concrete will be added.

For monthly construction updates, visit

For additional information about the project, visit

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11 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle Asian Art Museum expansion ‘topping out’

  1. Walked by there this morning. It appears even more imposing than I feared it would. With the ground sloping away and down to the east, and the new building projecting out from the peak height of the old building the structure crowds both the green space and blocks and smothers the sky view from the grassy area below. It is a desecration of the park. A great park will inspire and enliven the mind more than any art will, and I have always appreciated and loved art. It made me angry and disappointed to see it.

    • Hi Dennis, this doesn’t contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. I’m happy you have opinions and I’m sad you feel this way. Instead of assuming that all people are inspired and enlivened by great parks, opposed to art, why don’t we create a survey to see what people actually think?

      • I disagree, Tim. I think Dennis was clearly expressing an opinion, just as you are, and that blog comments are an appropriate place to express one’s opinion.

        I don’t see the value in additional petitions as obviously the addition is being built. Going forward, I see other things to work on, such as making sure Volunteer Park’s lower loop road becomes once again closed to cars, once the construction is complete. The Parks Superintendent’s office sent me written assurance in 2017 that the museum project would not cause the lower road to be opened permanently (just temporarily for construction worker parking).

  2. I for one support this project, and in general am not so very pro growth while being highly pro park. I have read about Olmsted and visited several of his parks around the US. He was a great believer in utility when it came to design. I will be very curious what happens with the fenced off open reservoir, which doesnt get much airplay.

    • Seattle Public Utilities has not yet made a decision about whether the reservoir can be permanently removed from the water system. I believe it is now past the time that we were told to expect this decision. I have heard an (unconfirmed) report that this delay is somehow related to the expansion of highway 520.

    • I really don’t understand the lack of support, and the “reasons” given by those against the expansion are–to be frank–just a bunch of post hoc garbage.

      SAAM needed renovation and modernization, and that meant expansion. Education space! A new gallery! Sounds good to me! The final design is beautiful, modern, and will greatly contribute to the usefulness and vitality of Volunteer Park in future.

      Thank goodness that the city will acknowledge the (garbage) complaints of those seeking to keep Seattle in the past, then ignore their (useless, ridiculous, garbage) concerns and proceed with making this city a nicer place to live.

  3. Justin, I get community posts, but why let the museum write their own post/press release when you have put much energy into covering this story?

      • um, ok. I guess because the work you do here is ostensibly journalism and because a pursuit of objectivity and truth is an accepted tenet of journalism and letting a subject’s public relations office write your copy for you means you really aren’t doing journalism at all, but rather advertising.