Design Notebook by Sias SA

Shrem Museum of Art, Davis, USA – by SO-IL Architects

Schrem 15-07 SO-IL 0729

Shrem Museum construction, photography: Iwan Baan

The design for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art strives to capture the spirit of the California Central Valley—the sense of empowerment from being able to cultivate and grow freely—a spirit of optimism, imagination and invention.








Concept plan


As an overarching gesture, a 50,000 square-foot permeable cover—a ‘Grand Canopy’—expands over both site and building.The distinct shape of this open roof presents a new symbol for the campus. The Canopy covers the entire the site, blurring the edge between campus and interior, and creating a sensory landscape of activities and scales.



Canopy mockup


Concept section


Like the Central Valley, the landscape under the Canopy becomes shaped and activated by changing light and seasons. Its unique form engenders curiosity from a distance, like a lone hill on a skyline.


SO – IL Shrem Aerial

Aerial view

SO – IL Shrem Street view

Street View


Interwoven curved and straight sections seamlessly define inside and outside.The result is a portfolio of interconnected interior and exterior spaces, all with distinct spatial qualities and characteristics that trigger diverse activities and create informal opportunities for learning and interaction.





Construction, photography: Iwan Baan

The future art museum is neither isolated nor exclusive, but open and permeable; not a static shrine, but a constantly evolving public event.




Project info
Client: University of California, Davis
Program: Museum of art
Area: 29,000 sf / 2.700m2
Status: Competition entry, 2013, First Prize; Expected 2016
Design: SO-IL

Competition: Florian Idenburg, Ilias Papageorgiou, Jing Liu, Danny Duong, Seunghyun Kang, Nile Greenberg, Pietro Pagliaro, Andre Herrero, Madelyn Ringo, Jacopo Lugli
Realisation:Florian Idenburg, Ilias Papageorgiou, Jing Liu, Danny Duong, Kevin Lamyuktseung

Associate Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Contractor: Whiting-Turner
Structural: Rutherford & Chekene MEP/LEED: WSP
Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone
Canopy Engineering: Front, Inc.




SO–IL is an idea-driven design office based in New York, led by partners Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu and Ilias Papageorgiou. Their 1rst prize awarded proposal in the competition for the Shrem Museum of Art in Davis, USA, expected to be completed in 2016, has been selected to be showcased at the 8th Young Architects Biennial to take place in Athens in September, proudly supported by SIAS SA.