LACMA Considers Gehry Skyscraper



LACMA recently announced that it would be revising its Peter Zumthor-designed expansion to span Wilshire Boulevard, and now it may be adding a skyscraper to this plan. According to Los Angeles Times’ architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, museum officials are in the very early stages of talks with LA Metro and other property owners to build a mixed-use tower above the forthcoming subway station on the south side of Wilshire.

The building would house a hotel and condos, as well as a new architecture and design wing of the museum. This is significant, since the Architecture and Design Museum (which is not affiliated with LACMA) that currently sits on the lot will be demolished to make room for the subway.

Michael Govan, LACMA’s entrepreneurial director, has expressed interest in having Frank Gehry design the new structure, and possibly housing Gehry’s archives there. “I’m jealous that New York has a Gehry tower and we don’t,” said Govan, perhaps appealing to potential donors’ feelings of civic inadequacy. Gehry offered a characteristically terse, “I’m open to it.” He has good reason to be cautious in his enthusiasm: Gehry’s museum buildings have generally been more favorably received outside of LA than in his hometown.

This proposal follows controversial developments in New York, where MoMA will be expanding into a Jean Nouvel designed skyscraper, and in Santa Monica, where a mixed-use development is at the center of a proposal for a re-designed Bergamot Station. Before LACMA can even begin to think seriously about construction however, it must negotiate with nearby property owners and LA Metro since the museum only owns one-third of the land.

also by Matt Stromberg

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