The new design pulls the museum back from the pits and instead stretches it across Wilshire Boulevard. A quarter of the 400,000 square foot structure will now be placed on the south side of Wilshire, on the site of a parking lot owned by the museum. The original design called for the structure to be lifted off the ground on pylons, so straddling Wilshire, while a significant change, is not as radical as it might seem.
Considering that other institutions have recently turned a deaf ear to critics when planning expansions (Lowry & Co., this means you), it is encouraging that LACMA showed some consideration for their neighbor. Zumthor’s plan does call for the elimination of the original William Pereira building and a 1986 addition, but it is arguable whether these are worth saving. The real question now will be whether LACMA is able to raise the $650 million necessary to turn his design into a reality.
also by Matt Stromberg
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