Tampa's skyline gets modern

The museum at night, lit by a wall of color-changing LEDs.

When the Tampa Museum of Art realized its growing collection of classic and contemporary art was outgrowing the museum itself they called in architect Rafael Vinoly, but his $76 million proposal was passed over in favor of the $26 million plan designed by the San Francisco-based Stanley Saitowitz.

The museum, which sits on a waterfront park in downtown Tampa, “is the first real work of architecture in Tampa in a decade,” says the museum’s executive director, Todd Smith. Apart from its conservative budget, one of the design’s biggest selling points is its simplicity. The marked departure from modernism in recent architecture trends a la Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid have left people craving a return to the elegance and simplicity of the 90 degree angle (especially in light of Gehry’s latest structural flubs). Saitowitz’s plans for the Tampa Museum were designed “first and foremost to display art instead of acting as an independent artwork.” See more photos of the rectangular beauty.