Museum of Tolerance / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

II Phase image

Architects: Yazdani Studio
Location: Los Angeles, , USA
Project Team: of Cannon Design – team includes: Mehrdad Yazdani, Design Principal; Scott F. Reed, AIA, LEED AP, Project Principal; Paul Gonzales, Project Manager; John Gormley, Project Manager (conceptual design); Hansol Park, AIA, Senior Designer; Jessica Yi, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP Project Architect; Philip Ra; Senior Designer (Phase II only); Jeremy Whitener, Project Designer; Jack Poulin, IIDA, Interior FFE; Mimi Lam, LEED AP, Designer; Josh Moratto, Designer; Sepideh Nabavi, Designer
Structural engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
MEP (conceptual): IBE Consulting Engineers
Electrical engineer: IBE Consulting Engineers
General contractor/ Construction Manager: Matt Construction
Lighting designer: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
Mechanical, Engineer: ACCO Engineered Systems
Electrical, Engineer: ESSCO
Acoustician: Veneklasen Associates
Audiovisual: Electrosonic Systems
Exhibit Designer: Houghton Kneale Design and Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design
Fire/Life/Safety: Rolf Jensen Associates
Photographs: Benny Chan of Fotoworks


The Museum of Tolerance (MOT) focuses on issues of tolerance, rights and diversity. The Museum aims to confront and promote a dialogue on these issues in a hands-on interactive manner. To build upon it initial success the MOT aimed to reposition the Museum from an experiential learning center into a cultural center for the Westside of Los Angeles. Designed in two phases – the first completed phase focuses on the interior spaces of the Museum while the second phase, in progress, expands the Museum.

The $8 million renovation includes approximately 34,450 sf of improvements for the Museum. Key components of the renovation include: exhibit spaces, two theaters, a children’s multi-functional learning center and multi-purpose rooms. On the ground floor, the Peltz Theater was renovated to provide the MOT with a modern theater space that can serve the Museum internally, in addition allows for the Museum to generate income through rentals and private screenings. The 300-seat theater has custom designed seating by Poltrona Frau and includes a state-of-the-art Integrated Iosono custom speaker system which produces a 3-dimensional array of sound. The LED lighting system creates multiple lighting effects and scenarios and can be programmed to complement the sound.

The exhibit level has an entire new entry with a donor wall, and lobby to the Wosk Screening Theater. This small screening room has 36-seats, the design formed from a curvilinear interior wall, uses the existing walls as a basis to achieve a more comprehensive architectural gesture. All A/V, mechanical and lighting fixtures were integrated and concealed in the custom fabricated felt strip wall (by Felt Studio) to avoid any visual obstruction. The felt wall provides the room with a distinct visual character and allows for high sound absorption which the room requires. Additionally further renovations on the exhibit level include new exhibits such as a rotating history wall, new installations and showcases for museum artifacts.

On the second floor, the scope of work included updating spaces to create a modern resource center for children and other museum groups. The new spaces include a children’s multipurpose area which features a series of large, backlight, pivoting media walls – constructed with Panelite and 3form panels. The super-graphic wall highlights portraits of pioneers of tolerance, diversity and human rights issues. On the reverse side, quotes from other leaders of these issues are displayed. The pivoting walls allow for a variety of configurations to support the varying size of groups touring the Museum. Moreover, two classrooms were updated with new technology and design and a 24-seat viewing room was also designed. Two new exhibits were also designed highlighting the crusade of Anne Frank.

Phase Two, which is currently in design, is a $33-million, 20,800 sf expansion, which will feature a modern design that provides for the massing of the form to make a gradual transition to the surrounding single family homes. The design will also focus its attention on the west façade of the building, replacing the existing pink granite with a newly designed façade tying together existing and new construction. To increase awareness of the repositioning of the museum large building signage will be integrated into a concrete panel system which will create a subtle, elegant message while not being obstructive to the public.


To create a more inviting and open entry, and to develop a deeper visual connection to the exterior the design, the lobby, bookstore and atrium will all be redesigned. The lobby will double in height space and there will be a physical connection from the lobby to the newly designed second floor children’s area (with the media wall) via a new figural staircase. The existing bookstore will be removed and will be replaced with a larger store that accommodates the museum’s needs. The entry sequence and layout will create a greater sense of circulation from initial entry, through ticketing, security and into the other areas of the building. Additionally, clear glass storefronts will be strategically utilized to increase awareness and natural light in the space. The second floor café and kitchen will be renovated and expanded to create a new destination within the museum – providing a needed service for patrons. The design is visually connected to the first and second floors of the museum. The materials will possess a sense of vibrancy and youthfulness helping to create a comfortable atmosphere.


Most significantly is the 4,000sf expansion of the third floor which will create a multipurpose space and cultural resource center that will be used for a variety of functions and events – this will replace the existing Memorial Garden located on the ground floor and create an enclosed space that will resemble an outdoor space. To achieve this, the design will utilize as much natural light as possible – however by taking advantage of building overhangs and trellises, the natural light will be filtered. Lastly, the fourth floor will go through about 7,000sf of tenant improvements – we will convert the existing floor into an executive conference center with a main board room and smaller conference rooms with a high tech A/V system – to create a visually clean and distinguished architectural expression with a high level of elegance and quality.

Cite: "Museum of Tolerance / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design" 31 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2015. <>
  • Yazdani Studio

    tonight FREE screening of #inglouriousbasterds at MOT in our Peltz theater – check the project out


    Museum of Tolerance / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design | ArchDaily

  • CannonDesign

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  • Stuart MacDonald

    RT @CannonDesign: RT @verdenuevoradio: Museum of Tolerance / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design | ArchDaily

  • Adel

    it’s like zigurat.really historic.well shown the nationality of architectures.(Iranian student)!