New Home for San Francisco Art Museum : Funding: The Museum of Modern Art has $65 million in private donations in hand and hopes to raise $15 million from corporations and $5 million from Bay Area residents.

Museum of Modern Art officials announced here Tuesday that they have garnered$65 million in private donations to build a 200,000-square-foot "world class" downtown museum.

"The Museum of Modern Art will be the anchor of a new cultural center in San Francisco, the likes of which I have not seen since the construction of the Lincoln Center in New York City," said Mayor Art Agnos.

"This is an unprecedented campaign drive," said Brooks Walker Jr., chairman of the museum's 56-member board of trustees, at a press conference.

The museum says the drive is the largest single campaign for an American museum.

The museum received gift commitments ranging from $1 million to $10 million from its trustees. Officials hope to collect another $15 million from corporations and another $5 million from Bay Area residents. The construction of the museum will cost about $60 million and another $25 million will serve as an endowment to fund the facilities' operations.

The new museum will be built on a 59,000-square-foot parking lot on Third Street between Mission and Howard streets, near the the planned Yerba Buena Gardens Cultural Center, which will include a $12.7-million performing arts theater.

The proposed museum was designed by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta, whose modernist work includes the Malraux Cultural Center in Chambery, France. It will be the first building he has designed in the United States.

The structure will feature a central cylinder ringed with trees and sky-lit stepped back stone facade. Visitors will be greeted by four floors of light flooded galleries.

"The museum today is one of the most important institutions in the city," Botta said through an interpreter. "The role of the museum today is similar to the role of the cathedral of the cities of the past. It's a very spiritual place."

Construction of the $60-million new museum is scheduled to begin in early 1992, with an opening planned for January, 1995, the institution's 60th anniversary.

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