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9 Things to Know About the Huge Proposed LACMA Redesign

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Pritzker-winning architect Peter Zumthor and ambitious LACMA head Michael Govan have big plans to completely redesign the eastern side of LACMA's Miracle Mile campus and more and more details are starting to come out ahead of an exhibition (opening June 9) that'll showcase the plan. Today LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne dishes yet more dirt on what's getting destroyed and what's getting built:

-- As suspected, the plan would retain the Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art, the two new Renzo Piano-designed buildings on the western side of the campus (BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion), and the May Company building at Fairfax and Wilshire, which the Academy of Motion Pictures is turning into a movie museum.
-- That means that all the original 1965 buildings designed by William Pereira (the Ahmanson, Hammer and Bing) will be demolished, and so will the much-hated 1986 Art of the Americas building, designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates.

-- The new design would stretch east horizontally from "Urban Light" (and the Piano section of the campus) and "would be wrapped in glass on all sides, and its main galleries would be lifted one floor into the air. The wide roof would be covered with solar panels."
-- "From above, the structure would resemble an inkblot or a drop of water. Zumthor says the design has been inspired more by the oozing, fluid forms of the La Brea Tar Pits just east of the museum than the existing architecture at LACMA."
-- The museum would stay open during construction, using the BCAM and Resnick spaces.
-- The plan won't really increase the overall square footage of the museum; however, the Wall Street Journal previously reported that it would allow LACMA to display a lot more of its collection: "Whole sections of LACMA's collection--such as gems tucked away on the third floor of the Art of the Americas building--will be dusted off for the first time in years."
-- The new design would also be efficient enough to save LACMA "as much as $5 million per year in operating costs."
-- The Pereira buildings were never that popular--Arts & Architecture magazine called them "pitiful" and their faults "inexcusable" when they first opened.
-- Zumthor's plan is somewhat similar to one proposed in 2001 by fellow starchitect Rem Koolhaas, which was approved by the LACMA board before being scuttled by various internal and external forces. What's notable is that neither the LA County Board of Supes or the LA Conservancy opposed any demolition at the time.
· LACMA draws up ambitious plans for a $650-million new look [LAT]
· Starchitect Peter Zumthor Has Plans to Turn LACMA Inside Out [Curbed LA]

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