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Request for Concept:
Plaza Redesign

DEADLINE: June 5, 2009

BUDGET: Up to $3 million

Tacoma Art Museum seeks qualified firms and/or individuals to submit concepts to redesign the museum’s plaza and perimeter to create a landmark civic space that enlivens downtown Tacoma. The Board of Trustees envisions the future of the museum’s plaza and perimeter as a gathering space for people, performances, and art. The concept will address landscape, art, and signage elements to increase visibility and to support the museum’s values of civic mindedness and approachability. 


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Expectations of concept

Concerns to be addressed


Selection Criteria

Intellectual Property Notice

Download schematic of the Plaza and Building (PDF)

Download schematic of the parking lot (PDF)

Building Slideshow

Online Forum

2006 Tollefson Plaza Recommendations (PDF)

The museum’s Plaza Redesign Task Force has identified two primary issues that must be addressed: (1) street visibility and the museum’s distinction from Pacific Avenue and I-705; and (2) access and circulation from the parking area into the museum’s lobby. By elegantly and innovatively addressing these two concerns, the successful proposal will enhance the connections between the museum and the diverse communities it serves.

The redesigned plaza and perimeter will create a unique visual experience, amplifying the architectural forms and conceptual foundations of the 2003 Antoine Predock building. It will serve as a transitional zone from the stark functionality of the parking area or the busy arterial Pacific Avenue to the museum’s welcoming environment and dynamic artistic programming. The plaza will symbolize the museum’s rich history and mission as a leading institution celebrating the art and artists of the Pacific Northwest. The Plaza Redesign Task Force has articulated the following goals and concerns for the plaza and perimeter:

The improved plaza spaces will

  • Improve the museum’s visibility and prominence from Pacific Avenue and I-705
  • Improve the entry on both the plaza level and parking level (elevator); 95% of visitors enter from parking lot
  • Be welcoming/inviting/dynamic
  • Have the museum appear open and engaging from outside
  • Interact with the city
  • Serve as a gathering space
  • Serve as a public programming space
  • Serve as a fundraising space
  • Be seen as the heart of Tacoma
  • Offer protection from the elements/year-round usage
  • Showcase a public art program that will encompass three to five works, providing optimum flexibility for future projects ranging from traditional bronze and stone sculptures to new media works.

The plaza redesign will address the following concerns

  • There is undistinguished street visibility along Pacific Avenue
  • There is no protection on the plaza from the elements
  • The building turns its back on the city
  • Museum appears closed and monolithic from the outside
  • Plaza feels empty
  • Plaza appears like a drive-by space
  • Plaza feels stark, cold
  • Plaza contains no art work.

On Monday, May 18, beginning at 11 am until 1 pm, Director Stephanie Stebich and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art Rock Hushka and the Plaza Redesign Task Force will be available for a walk-through of the museum’s plaza, parking area, and perimeter spaces. During this tour, interested parties will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the scope and complexity of the project. RSVPs are encouraged: plaza@TacomaArtMuseum.org. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the museum and experience public spaces before submitting their design concepts.

Each proposal must be submitted in pdf format, not exceeding three pages in length and no larger than 200 dpi in resolution. The proposals shall be limited to three components: (1) a conceptual sketch or rendering of the proposed design, (2) a written description of the design solution’s key features, and (3) a summary of the submitter’s unique qualifications, including past projects, education, collaborations, and awards. Proposals will be accepted only in digital submission at this email address: plaza@TacomaArtMuseum.org. The deadline is June 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

The museum will create a public online forum at http://TacomaArtMuseumPlaza.blogspot.com/. The forum will be moderated by Rock Hushka, Director of Curatorial Administration and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art. This forum will allow questions and perspectives specific to the plaza redesign process and scope to be shared by all potential designers during the submission period. Questions and comments will be allowed beginning Monday, May 11 through Thursday, June 4, 2009. The blog will be monitored Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. No responses will be provided during the weekends or the Memorial Day holiday.


  • Monday, May 18, 2009, beginning at 11 am until 1 pm – Walk-through of spaces with members of the Plaza Redesign Task Force, Director Stephanie Stebich, and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art Rock Hushka
  • Friday, June 5, 2009 – Deadline for Submission by 5 pm PST
  • Monday, June 22, 2009 – Notification of selected firms or individuals for the Short List
  • Thursday, July 9, 2009 – Interviews of selected individuals or firms
  • End of July—Notification of selected firm or individual
  • Autumn 2009—Presentation to Board of Trustees


All complete submissions by firms and/or individuals will be reviewed by the Plaza Redesign Task Force. A short list of finalists will be selected. Finalists will be invited to present their concept to the Task Force on Thursday, July 9.

The successful candidate will show experience in producing unique and successful design solutions for projects which involve exterior public gathering spaces, building entries, and exterior art.

The successful candidate will provide design concept(s), which address the scope of work criteria.

The successful candidate will demonstrate an active listening ability and an ability to revise a design recommendation in deference to the client’s wishes.

The Task Forces seeks a candidate that can infuse the project with enjoyment and collaborative spirit..

It is preferred that the firm and/or individual maintain primary place of business within the Pacific Northwest, defined as Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.


The competition submittals and the design concepts they represent will be considered the intellectual property of the entity, person, or persons submitting them as they will be deemed the authors and owners of their respective Instruments of Service and shall retain all common law, statutory and other reserved rights, including copyrights.

This agreement applies up to and including the selection process.

Except as set forth in this Call for Concept, no party is obligated or bound until parties have signed a definitive agreement.

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