The office of Peter Zumthor has released new renderings of their design for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s $600 million new home on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The images provide the first look into the museum interior and gallery spaces, and present the museum in its nearly-finalized design. From this point, Zumthor has stated, "it is only going to be small alterations."
Zumthor’s design will replace four deteriorating buildings (the Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, and Hammer buildings, and the Leo S. Bing Center) to improve the flow and functionality of the museum, as well as better connect with the surrounding environment. LACMA considers the new building not as an expansion but rather an update, as the new building will actually reduce the overall built square footage by approximately 25,000 square feet.
The new building will consist of an elevated main gallery level raised 20-30 feet above the ground and supported by 8 pavilions containing spaces for art display, retail, a restaurant, and theater and public programs. In contrast to the traditional archetype of a museum as a fortress, the design emphasizes transparency and horizontality to make the building feel open and approachable from all sides.
The galleries have been separated into three different typologies: “Meander”, “Cabinet” and “Chapel”. Located around the perimeter of the building, 71,000 square feet of “Meander” spaces receive natural light from the tall glazed panels and feature continuous benches along the edge. “Cabinet” spaces recalling traditional museum galleries feature lower ceilings and more controlled light and provide 34,000 square feet of exhibition space. The third gallery type, the “Chapel” spaces, feature tall ceilings and lighting from clerestories that pop out of the museum roof.
The building is currently undergoing environmental impact testing, with an anticipated construction start date in the fall of 2018. The building is expected to be finished by 2023, coinciding with the opening of a new Metro line station across the street. Find out more about the project at the new project website, here.