02/15/2013 06:31 pm ET Updated May 23, 2013

SFMOMA Expansion Project Will Feature Sculpture Gardens And Educational Facilities (PHOTOS)

SFMOMA is about to get a $555 million facelift.

The new space will be outfitted with increased entrances, outdoor galleries and the largest vertical garden space in San Francisco. The museum's revamp is set to be completed in 2016.

"From the very start of this project, our goal has been to improve nearly every aspect of who we are as a museum and how we serve our many audiences," SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra said in a press release.

SFMOMA partnered with Snøhetta, the architectural company behind the library in Alexandria, Egypt and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavillion at the World Trade Center Site.

So far, the museum has raised over $437 million, 80 percent total fundraising goal. The pricetag is hefty, but the museum says the cost is worthwhile, as the new and improved SFMOMA will create over 1,4000 jobs in construction and related fields.

Creating free-access public spaces is a priority of the project. The new facility will include 15,000 square feet of art-filled spaces open to the public free of charge. Additional entrances will be installed on Howard and Minna Streets as well as a promenade between the SFMOMA and the Transbay Transit City.

"SFMOMA has had a tremendous impact on the economic and cultural vitality of the South of Market neighborhood and the city," San Francisco's District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim said in a press release.

Other noteworthy features include a wall of native plants, which the museum claims will be the biggest installation of its kind of in San Francisco, as well as a "white box" space for lighting and sound installations.

SFMOMA is also incorporating educational features in hopes of increasing student visits from 18,000 to 55,000 per year.

Museum renovations will begin this summer in preparation for a 2016 opening. The museum plans to host off-site programming in the Bay Area throughout the construction.

Check out some renderings of the new space below.



SFMOMA Expansion