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San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum Plans To Sue Architecture Firm Over ‘Inadequate’ Work

The San Francisco-based Asian Art Museum is planning to take legal action against the architecture firm WHY over ‘inadequate expansion plans”.

The expansion of the Asian Art Museum was completed in 2020. It cost around $38 million and added 13,000 square feet to the existing space. However, it was forced to shut down as the pandemic began immediately after that. However, the legal drama soon began between the museum, the architecture firm WHY, and their contractor Swinerton.

According to the museum’s announcement on Monday: “[The expansion project] was delivered late, and as originally constructed, it failed to meet even the minimum museum-quality standards: it leaked in multiple locations, its interior environment was of inadequate quality, and its rooftop terrace was unusable. It was only through substantial intervention by the Foundation, at its own significant cost, that these major issues were identified and corrected, and a first-class, museum-quality Pavilion was finally achieved.”

The museum explained further that they are “trapped in the middle” of the two parties, as Swinerton accuses WHY of preparing inadequate construction plans, while WHY accused Swinerton of not following the plans correctly. Swinerton had already filed a lawsuit against WHY in 2021; however, they had also named the Asian Art Foundation (parent organization of the museum) in the lawsuit.

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The New York-based WHY is a popular architectural firm that is particularly favored in the art circles. Some of the museums that have been designed include the David Kordansky Gallery, a gallery for the Harvard Art Museum, and the tend for the Freize LA art fair. It is also currently working on the African and Oceanic art sections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.