MBH Architects Gives the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley Some Gentle Modernizations

The Ansel Adams Gallery by MBH Architects. Photography by Misha Bruk.


The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley was created in the 1970s as a space to enjoy the photographer’s work in the same place where he took some of his renowned pictures of the American wilderness. While the photographs remain agelessly beautiful, the owners of the gallery decided to partner with MBH Architects in 2015 to renovate the space.


The 900-square-foot space has been given some gentle modernizations, incorporating pre-existing fixtures to preserve the character of the original building. Custom millwork and furnishings display prints and merchandise while an abundance of strip lighting showcases the hanging pieces at their best.


Light gray vinyl flooring is textured to mimic a wood grain and adds durability against all the different kinds of weather visitors track in with them. Providing a healthy contrast with the black melamine countertops and walnut cabinetry used in the displays, this careful arrangement of light and dark also subtly references some of Adams’s most well-known work: the black and white landscapes that first earned him so much acclaim.



The Ansel Adams Gallery by MBH Architects. Photography by Misha Bruk.


MBH has also reworked the layout to allow for a more natural circulation through the space and to create a better experience of the art it holds, while the exterior still hews to the rustic soul of the building, making it right at home in Yosemite. The result is part time-capsule, part woodsy retreat—in that way, not unlike an Adams photograph.


“We wanted to keep in alignment with the heritage,” said Joseph Irwin, Project Manager at MBH, going on to mention how the project had started after a couple of his colleagues went backpacking through the valley and wound up at the gallery during their trip. “It was a unique opportunity to blend our outdoor lifestyles with our work."

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