Whoa: there are plans for a three-building, "underground" museum dedicated to "contemporary Los Angeles art" in the Historic Core. The Old Bank District Museum, a partnership between Downtown developer Tom Gilmore (the guy behind the Old Bank District and one of the pioneers in the last decade's Downtown gentrification) and SCI-Arc professor/architect Tom Wiscombe, will be "an antidote to established museums and philanthropy," says the Architect's Newspaper. The plan is to use the Bank House Garage, the Hellman Building, and the Farmers and Merchants Bank on the corner of Fourth and Main streets to make a museum complex sprawling across the buildings' rooftops, ground levels, and everything below the floor. (The Hellman, at least, has about 100 lofts inside of it, so floors two through six are otherwise occupied; no word about what will happen to the current ground-floor tenants.)
All the cool bank leftovers—pneumatic tubes, bank vaults, submarine doors—will be incorporated into the new art museum. Wiscombe plans to create "three dimensional public space" by cutting big openings through the walls and floors of the otherwise claustrophobic basement vaults.
The museum will also have a restaurant cantilevered over Main Street and an amphitheater facing the skyline. "We're going beyond the frontier of street level," says Wiscombe.
Gilmore says the plans are still very preliminary at this point, but he's already planning to fund the first phases of construction on the "insanely organic" museum with his partner Jerri Perrone. He's aiming to have demolition inside the buildings begin next month, with the eventual opening date tentatively set for 2017.
· Underground Culture [A/N]