Norton Simon Museum

Pasadena's venerable Norton Simon Museum has inspired visitors with world-class art collections and exhibitions for nearly half a century. Looking forward to their 50-year anniversary in 2025, the Museum will be conserving and repairing its iconic tiled facade, improving their street presence, and enhancing the visitor experience as one approaches and moves through the site.

In 2022, ARG led a team of consultants in envisioning conceptual designs for the Museum’s exterior improvement project, and subsequent design phases are currently underway. The project scope includes enhancing and replacing perimeter landscaping, installing new perimeter fencing and gates, signage and wayfinding, as well as the restoration of the facades, which are clad with approximately 115,000 tiles designed by Edith Heath of Heath Ceramics.



The building was originally designed by the firm of Ladd and Kelsey in 1969 for the Pasadena Art Museum and became the Norton Simon Museum in 1975. Interior renovations were completed by Craig Ellwood in 1977 and Frank Gehry in 1999, which included Nancy Goslee Power’s re-envisioned landscaping in the sculpture garden and front entrance.

The Norton Simon Museum building features distinctive, modern, curvilinear walls which are clad with glazed tiles in earthen hues. The tile was designed by Edith Heath of Heath Ceramics. It is dual-glazed with red over onyx, which provides a range of mottled brown, red and purple shades that are reminiscent of the “coppery plum-colored shadows” of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains from which the artist took inspiration. The tiles provide a delightful handcrafted quality to the modern forms, and the color shifts throughout the day with changing light conditions.

Professional photography by Elon Schoenholz, courtesy of the Norton Simon Art Foundation

Additional photography by Architectural Resources Group

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