Studio Ma - Phoenix Art Museum
  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Completed: 2010
  • Building Area: 20,000 sf (renovation) 3,000 sf (addition)
  • Construction Cost: $2.4 million
  • Client: Phoenix Art Museum

Studio Ma designed gallery renovations and a large multipurpose community room for the Phoenix Art Museum as a part of its multiple phase master plan. Conceived as a truly civic arts institution, the Phoenix Art Museum was founded on a mission of arts enrichment and education. Our renovation work focused on the original 1959 building, which had been designed by Alden Dow and Blaine Drake, who were proteges of Frank Lloyd Wright. Gallery renovations to the Museum’s permanent collections, including European Art, Western Art, American Art, Asian Art and the Thorne Miniatures Collection, improved circulation within the building. We upgraded lighting and finishes in line with the Museum’s newest galleries.

Studio Ma - Phoenix Art Museum

A true civic arts institution, the Phoenix Art Museum educates and exposes the broadest possible segment of the Southwest to the visual arts, aiming always to be enlightening and stimulating.

Studio Ma - Phoenix Art Museum

Only a few years before our work began, the museum had completed a major expansion designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. A remaining piece of the new construction was our community room, which interprets and refines the conceptual design prepared by Williams Tsien. We designed the new Community Room to accommodate a wide variety of functions, including lectures, board meetings, community meetings, special events and art viewings. The program includes fully integrated audiovisual technology and flexible furnishings that can seat 76 in board room configuration, 170 for lecture, and up to 84 in table clusters.


The addition’s architecture plays an important role in the museum’s pedagogical mission for the arts.

Defined by simple planar forms, the new double-height addition is shielded from a busy city street by an overhanging L-shaped portico that reduces noise, desert glare and heat gain. The grounds around the addition were adapted to the room’s sightlines, with new adjoining courts.

Studio Ma - Phoenix Art Museum

The Studio Ma team beautifully addressed a number of challenges in creating the Phoenix Art Museum community room expansion...Through their dynamic, inclusive planning and design process, the result was a total success.

Jim Ballinger
Director, Phoenix Art Museum