The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will soon be rolling out the red carpet to welcome Swiss legend Peter Zumthor to the Golden State. The prized architect’s debut will mark the opening of “The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA,” which will unveil the ambitious, $650 million plan to transform the LACMA’s “Byzantine maze of buildings and hallways” into an experience-based “village” of curvaceous modern glass structures that will produce more energy than it uses.
“The idea is to make it permeable by people,” LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan says, who has been working with Zumthor for over four years on the proposal.
“It’s a big step for LA,” commented Zumthor to BD after his RIBA Gold Medal speech. “It should be intimidating for me but it’s the same as doing a chair in my [cabinet maker] father’s shop. You have to do it well and then you start. I am not intimidated at all by its great size, but I am astonished that I am doing this museum.”
Because the plan calls for the demolition of several existing LACMA buildings – an idea that failed under a pre-Govan proposal by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas – it’s effectively an opening shot in what could turn into a highly public debate about the future of the art museum.
“The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA,” opening June 9 at LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion, will reveal a model of the proposal alongside a display of LACMA’s checkered architectural history and a small retrospective of Zumthor’s work. The exhibition will be preceded by a 7:30PM, June 3 lecture titled “The Director’s Series: Conversation with Michael Govan and Peter Zumthor.” More information can be found on the LACMA website here.