LACMA head Michael Govan and Swiss starchitect Peter Zumthor have a big plan to demolish most of LACMA and replace it with a black splatter-shaped museum inspired by its neighbor, the La Brea Tar Pits. But that plan could destroy the very tar pits themselves. Well, not destroy. But threaten. The tar pits are still an active research site (perhaps you have been inside the accompanying Page Museum and seen paleontologists cleaning up fossils they've found there), and scientists are concerned that fossils will be damaged during construction or upset the ecological balance at the site, reports the LA Times. For instance, "The models [preliminary designs on display at LACMA now] show that the larger, so-called lake pit to the east of the museum would be shadowed by the cantilevered roof," and the Page's chief curator says "It would block off the light, the rain, and that affects the vegetation .... It would go from something that's totally natural to something artificial."
In the past, LACMA building projects have been mostly great for the Page and the tar pits: construction of the Japanese Pavilion in 1986 and the underground garage in 2006 unearthed an enormous amount of fossils, although a mammoth skull was "accidentally damaged by a bulldozer." Govan says the current designs are far from final and that "Even I know it cantilevers too far ... There's no intention to impinge on the tar pits in a negative way."
· Peter Zumthor's LACMA plan worries Page Museum at La Brea tar pits [LAT]
· Tour the Proposed Peter Zumthor LACMA Overhaul in Miniature [Curbed LA]