LACMA holds scoping meeting on Zumthor project

| September 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
DRAWING shows proposed building design that spans Wilshire.

DRAWING shows proposed building design that spans Wilshire.

The public review process for a proposed “Building for the Permanent Collection” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has begun.

About 170 people attended the standing-room only public scoping meeting Aug. 24, hosted by the County of Los Angeles at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM).

LACMA CEO Michael Govan told the crowd about the “decades-long effort… We have a chance to seize this [historic] moment… which is what L.A. does so well, and that is see the future… I think a lot of museums are going to follow us.”

Without being asked, Govan addressed questions he said he’s been asked over the months, and years, from, “‘Why can’t you save the existing buildings?’” — “The costs are too high,” to “’Why are you crossing Wilshire?’” — “It will add tremendous amounts of height and light.”

Indeed, Pritzker prize-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor’s $600 million, one-building design boldly reaches across Wilshire Blvd. The finished complex with its main gallery 20-30 feet off the ground has a glass wall exterior throughout showing vistas of the La Brea Tar Pits, Japanese Pavilion, city and mountains. Yet, it will be 25,000 gross square feet smaller than the buildings it will replace. It will also add 2.5 acres of new public space, Govan said.

The horizontal layout will showcase art of diverse cultures and reflect the peoples of the city and the world.

Eight galleries will be laid out in bite-size chunks, “so you don’t get lost,” in low-light intimate settings as well as light-filled tall spaces giving “a sense of exhilaration.”

BCAM, the Resnick Pavilion, Pritzker Parking Garage and the Pavilion for Japanese Art will remain.
The proposed new 368,000 square-foot building replaces the Ahmanson, Art of the Americas and Hammer buildings and the Leo S. Bing Center.

An Initial Study of the project had been prepared by the county, and the meeting’s purpose was to solicit comments regarding aesthetics, air quality, traffic and other environmental issues to be addressed in a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

Written comments by Sept. 6

Written comments may be submitted before the close of business on Tues., Sept. 6 to Peter Burgis, Capital Programs, L.A. County Chief Executive Office, 500 West Temple St., Room 754, LA, CA, 90012, or

The Miracle Mile Residential Assoc. submited a 19-page response the day after the scoping meeting.

“LACMA’s proposal to bridge Wilshire Boulevard with a new museum is so unusual and highly complex that the MMRA will reserve formal judgment on the project until we can review the Draft EIR,” said Ken Hixon, vice president of the MMRA. “Obviously, we are very sensitive to the idea that by spanning Wilshire the new museum would abut multi-family residences.”

Construction is set to begin in mid-2018 and to be finished in 2023, the scheduled opening of the new Metro Purple Line subway station directly across from the museum.

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