LACMA unveils renderings of gallery interiors and floor plans for the new building’s two levels

| September 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

EXHIBITION FLOOR PLAN of LACMA’s new David Geffen Galleries building shows three types of galleries: terrace galleries, near the windows; courtyard galleries with natural light coming from the side; and core galleries that have artificial light.                                                  Courtesy of LACMA

As the last remnants of the 1965 William Pereira-designed Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) disappear, passers-by can imagine the vast amount of open space that will be under and around the new LACMA structure. One can envision dining inside the two-story-high interior of the new Ray’s & Stark Bar or on the terrace outside (still to be in the general vicinity of the existing restaurant, across the plaza connecting to the existing Resnick Exhibition Pavilion and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum [BCAM]).

Envisioning the future LACMA addition became easier in the middle of last month, when LACMA released floor plans and additional renderings of gallery interiors for the building being designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor & Partner, with local design collaboration from iconic American architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM).

For the first time, SOM’s role is getting more attention, with Michael Mann, FAIA, having been interviewed for the “Los Angeles Times” story published on September 18. Mann, a managing director at SOM, spoke about the detailed study underway for the color and texture of the concrete that will be a feature of the building. The new renderings give hints about such details, with a significant design feature being the pattern of equilateral triangles on the ceilings throughout the exhibition level of the new David Geffen Galleries building. The two renderings accompanying this article show these triangles on the ceilings (not a “rhombus” pattern, as mentioned in “The Times”).

LACMA CORE GALLERY: This rendering shows an example of a “core,” or interior, gallery on the exhibition level of the new David Geffen Galleries building. Renderings courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary

In an interview with the Larchmont Chronicle, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Michael Govan, told us that this triangle form is an essential part of the steel structure that will arise to support the exhibition level of the Geffen Galleries, which is elevated almost 30 feet above street level. A reader may visualize that triangular shape in the accompanying floor plan of the second floor — just south of the existing LACMA Pavilion for Japanese Art.

Structural features are generally overlooked by most visitors and usually are invisible. However, for engineering geek readers, we’ll also share that Govan mentioned that the base isolators being utilized in the project may be among the largest ever installed, anywhere in the world.

The ground floor of the David Geffen Galleries building will have a 300-seat theater on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard (the former Spaulding Avenue surface parking lot). Adjoining will be a wine bar fronting on the Wilshire sidewalk.

On the ground on the north side will be the C+M Café at LACMA, an art gallery, art studio and outdoor space for educational activities as well as films, talks, galas and live music. The north side is also where the LACMA Store will be located, between the new Ray’s & Stark Bar and the elevators to the exhibition level upstairs.

The accompanying floor plan shows the three types of galleries that make up the exhibition level.

Terrace galleries

RAY’S AND STARK BAR’S new restaurant and dining terrace will be at ground level, approximately where the existing restaurant is now.

Terrace galleries are near the peripheral windows and are lighted primarily by natural light. They will show three-dimensional objects, many of which were created originally for outdoors, and there will be seating benches for visitors who want to rest and contemplate the surroundings.

Courtyard galleries

These are organically shaped galleries that lead to, and connect, the interior galleries. The courtyard galleries are sheltered from direct light, but natural light will come from the side. Zumthor’s career has featured a special consciousness of the role of natural light, such as in his Kunsthaus Bregenz museum in Austria.

Core galleries

DEMOLITION is nearly done, with the Ahmanson Building from 1965 being the last to go. Photo is from Sept. 22. “Urban Light” and BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum) are at left.

The approximately 25 core galleries are enclosed except for a single entrance-exit portal (or, in two of the larger galleries, two such portals). Rectangular in shape, these interior galleries feature controlled light, best for a variety of artworks, including works on paper such as drawings, prints and photographs.

LACMA leaders expect construction of the new building to be complete in 2023. The public opening is planned for 2024.

With so much new detail just released, the museum’s website for the construction project is even more fascinating. Go to:

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