Peter Zumthor’s massive LACMA addition gets initial funding

Architecture, West
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Model of Zumthor's LACMA addition, which now spans Wilshire Boulevard (LACMA/ Museum Associates)

Model of Zumthor’s LACMA addition, which now spans Wilshire Boulevard (LACMA/ Museum Associates)

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the contribution of $125 million in bond funds to LACMA’s $600 million makeover, which, under the guidance of Peter Zumthor, would tear down most of the campus and snake over Wilshire Boulevard. The new 410,000 square foot building would open in 2023, with the remaining funding coming from private donations. According to the LA Times, LACMA director Michael Govan told the Board of Supervisors that the museum’s older buildings “are really ailing. They are not worth saving. The new building will be much more energy efficient and accessible to a broad public.”

LACMA back in 1956, before the 1980's addition (LACMA)

LACMA back in 1956, before the 1980’s addition (LACMA)

LACMA Campus Map. Most  buildings to the left (east) would be demolished. (LACMA)

LACMA Campus Map. Most buildings to the left (east) would be demolished. (LACMA)

According to LACMA the campus’ existing buildings would need $246 million to $320 million for upgrades. And so in a city of teardowns, the biggest museum in town seems to be clearing the way for one of its own. Meeting their demise would be William Pereira’s Ahmanson, Hammer, and Bing buildings, as well as Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer’s 1986 addition. Buildings remaining would include Renzo Piano’s new BCAM and Resnick buildings and Bruce Goff’s Japanese Pavilion.

The project is still far from moving ahead. LACMA spokesperson Miranda Carroll recently told AN that there is close to a year remaining before the project’s feasibility concludes, and the museum’s board still must vote to proceed. The agreement (PDF) with the supervisors also provided about $7.5 million for feasibility and planning studies.

Zumthor's east expansion at night (LACMA)

Zumthor’s east expansion at night (LACMA)

One Response to “Peter Zumthor’s massive LACMA addition gets initial funding”

  1. Jack Urbani says:

    It seems to me that this project would take us in the wrong direction.It looks like something from the 50s where people and streets never meet.. We should be making the streets more hospital to people, not less. Even the drawing is showing Wilshire as some super highway instead of the tree lined street that it is. Mr Govan, I hope, is not who decides what is “worth saving”. The buildings, such as they are, are iconic in their own right and appear have greater densities than the proposal. It alwys worries me when someone starts saying that buildings are not worth saving. This sprawling building does not seem to creating a better density that is the most environmentally sound reason for demolition. This does not appear to be green growth

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