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May Company Makeover: Rehab of LACMA West

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Now that Phase I of Transformation: The LACMA Campaign is over (it covered the construction of the grand entrance, the concourse, the grand staircase, a parking garage off of Sixth Street, and BCAM, the installations on the Wilshire facade, and the reinstallation of the permanent collection), it's time to check out Phase II. Renzo Piano's special exhibitions pavilion is already under construction and is scheduled to open in 2010, but what about the other big Phase II project, SPF:architects "rehabilitation" of LACMA West? As recently noted by blogger Ugly Angel, changes are eventually coming.

LACMA West is housed in the 1939 streamline moderne May Company Department Store building at Fairfax and Wilshire, and SPF:a's website calls its overhaul "an industrial intervention...[to] address infrastructure upgrades, programmatic area designs, circulation, and exterior upgrades," and says the interior will "be loft-like in an open plan, taking advantage of the available natural light...Vertical circulation in the building will be improved either through escalator reactivation in some areas, or at the very least, with the creation of an open stair between floors that contain the majority of administrative offices." Renderings also show a pleasant-looking rooftop space.

SPF:a wouldn't answer our questions, except to tell us that "the Klimt painting was just one of many renderings that was part of a lengthier process -- it in no way represents the final direction, which is mostly an interior project." Phew. It might be a while until we see anything new at all at the old May building--a LACMA rep tells Curbed, "The renovation is on hold until we raise $100 million in pledges against our remaining $150 million Transformation campaign goal. (The overall Transformation campaign goal is $450 million; we have raised $300 million to date.)"
· Baby Piano: Latest LACMA Construction Shots [Curbed LA]
· Phase II [LACMA]
· SPF:architects [Official Site]

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