Morphosis unveils flowing Orange County Museum of Art

Explore the curved shapes and expressive interiors of the Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis, now open in California

exterior view of Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis seen through greenery
(Image credit: Jasmine Park)

All flowing shapes and gleaming surfaces, the new Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis is opening its doors this weekend. The cultural destination's fresh home, located on the campus of Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, represents a new era for the institution as well as marking a key anniversary for it. 

‘I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our 60th anniversary than by inaugurating this magnificent new building with an around-the-clock open house for everyone, including the many new members we welcome into our OCMA family,' said Craig Wells, president of OCMA’s board of trustees. 

dusk shot of aerial of the Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis

(Image credit: Mike Kelley)

The structure was designed by the iconic Culver City-based architecture studio, led by founder and design director Thom Mayne, who oversaw the project together with partner-in-charge Brandon Welling. Employing the practice's signature expressive lines and free-form shapes, the Orange County Museum of Art is certainly impressive. Its sweeping volumes are clad in a skin of high-performance white terracotta tiles and glazed sections, which bring plenty of natural light inside. Exposed concrete, metal panels and careful landscaping complete the building's textures. 

Inside, flexible exhibition galleries meet workspace, dedicated space for educational programming, and public areas that are accessible to all. A café helps create an additional focal point for public activity. At the same time, the composition's external areas (such as the garden and an expansive roof terrace) and large openings (windows, glazed walls and dramatic skylights) ensure there's a strong relationship between indoor and outdoor space, as feels fitting in the warm California climate. 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on 7 October 2022, with the building opening to the public on 8 October, followed by a 24-hour party celebration, including a range of activities for visitors, such as performances, film screenings, art-making workshops, and more. 

angular metal clad volumes against blue skies

(Image credit: Mikey Kelley)

entrance view detail of Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis

(Image credit: Jasmine Park)

expressive shapes and metal clad geometric volumes at Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis

(Image credit: Jasmine Park)

expressive interior shapes inside Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis

(Image credit: Mikey Kelley)

bridge under curved skylight opening at Orange County Museum of Art by Morphosis

(Image credit: Mikey Kelley)

INFORMATION

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).