Zumthor Downsizes LACMA 10%

The environmental impact report on Peter Zumthor's LACMA project has been delayed about as long as the Mueller report. Unlike the latter, the LACMA EIR is now available to all on the L.A. County website. It calls for a roughly 10 percent reduction in the building's area (347,000 sf., down from 387,500 announced in Oct. 2017 and 392,871 for the current buildings). Other changes include elimination of the high-ceiling "chapel" galleries and new, rectilinear shapes for the seven pavilions supporting the elevated gallery level.
Old rendering of a "chapel gallery" (eliminated in new design)
The 10 percent haircut won't please those who feel the new structure was already too small for an expensive, hard-to-expand building. The chapel galleries were by far the most distinctive features of previous renderings of the interior. I liked them as architecture, yet suspected they were out of scale for the pre-contemporary art they would be showing. LACMA does not own the Colossus of Rhodes.

From the outside, the latest design seems more comfortable in its flatness. The color appears to be a shade lighter (it started out Tar Pit Black, then moved to Sand). The new renderings make the most believable case for how the Zumthor building might work at street level. It's less freeway underpass, more urban and urbane.

UPDATE: More on Zumthor LACMA here.


Anonymous said…
Now smaller and yet still way too expensive?

Robert Mueller needs to investigate whether Michael Govan and Peter Zumthor colluded with Russia to destroy the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In this case, Guilty!!
Anonymous said…
Not liking this downsizing. You’re right that the chapel rooms were a distinctive feature of the project. This design lives and dies on the interior space, and the chapel rooms give viewers a nice breather to let their shoulders fall from the tighter, more intimate rooms. Now it’s just a collection of tiny rooms. You could see Serra’s Band in a nice airy chapel space. Now, it’s hard to imagine a space for it.

Also, I think it’s short-sighted to think that LACMA won’t be in need of expansion in the future. (I’m sure they felt that way in the 60s too). That’s there’s no need to give some leeway for future projects. LA is only in the early stages of it’s art capital and philanthropic reputation. I don’t think I’m being optimistic to say that LA’s collection could grow as big as Chicago or NYC’s flagship museums, both over 1M square feet, and still not enough.
Anonymous said…
Won't Serra's "Band" stay where it is, in the Broad building?
The Zumthor building is intended to house older art, not contemporary. I haven't heard mention of a cut-off date but Band is 2006 so is surely contemporary.
Anonymous said…
Did you all know you can literally change out a gallery display? Rather than building new structures all the time, they can actually de-install one installation and put in another. Magical! The loss of the 10,000 square feet doesn't mean that somehow the museum can't display all of its departments, or interesting exhibitions. The assumption that permanent collection displays are fixed and immovable is rampant - and antithetical to what LACMA is going for with the new building.
Smaller than the present space with large cost? Massive east/west exposure, with floor to ceiling windows? Bright sunlight is not good for old art. How many things can they do wrong, in one jump?

Just where did this project go completely off the rails?