New Yorker Profiles Peter Zumthor


In The New Yorker Dana Goodyear profiles "The Iconoclast Remaking Los Angeles's Most Important Museum." That isn't necessarily who you think it is—it's Peter Zumthor. One takeaway of Goodyear's piece is that Zumthor's slow perfectionism has much to do with the building's gradually spiraling cost. At one point Michael Govan told Zumthor that if he wanted to make another change to the building's shape, Zumthor would have to find the $3 million cost himself. (The money was found through "value engineering"—finding a way to save money on something else.)

On Zumthor's last pre-lockdown visit to LACMA, in late February, he and Govan celebrated the impending demolition of the original LACMA buildings. 

"We do what we want, and we are on budget!' Govan said. "I told you this would happen."

"Well, I didn’t want to be on budget," Zumthor said. "I don’t give a fuck if we’re on budget."

Comments

Anonymous said…
> "Well, I didn’t want to be on budget,"
> Zumthor said. "I don’t give a fuck if we’re
> on budget."

Jeez, what could possibly go wrong?

"The check is in the mail."
Anonymous said…
Let me get this straight. The guy in the Swiss village ostensibly responsible for building’s budget is told by the client that if he is over—value engineering no. 1 having just been released—he’s out. The client maintains that since not enough people went to see the museum’s great Indian collection on the fourth floor he would only allow a one-story museum instead of redoing the lighting in the now demolished floor. So their collective original plan for a tight site raised the floor above grade in order to cantilever over the tar pits, but the client forgot to discuss it with his equal at the bone museum—they both work for the same government entity—and decided instead to over the most famous boulevard in the city; which no doubt costs twice to span the more than a hundred feet than whatever it costs to raise the darn thing thirty feet up in the air. In a seismic zone. But at least all is well with the underside of the spaceship’s slab as it is going to have pretty incised lines to hide the inevitable crew king. Sadly though, it turns out the Swiss guy doesn’t give a damn about the budget, no doubt for the, quite rightly, low regard his cabinet maker’s instincts will have for craft in American construction which the contractor will have to be as diligent as possible to overcome in order to meet the high standards of the twosome pleaser with themselves for being able to do what they wanted to do. Quite possibly after a few dozen change orders the Swiss guy can preempt firing by maintaining that the wrong color asphalt terrazzo was value engineered in and the effect he sought was ruined and he disavows the building and will not be just another Utzon. More likely the opening party will be great and Brad Pitt will be there. I hope I get an invitation. If not, like hundreds of others will wonder how the pendulum could possibly swing so far in the other direction for two building campaigns separated by sixty years for the “most important museum in LA” and still end up (almost) in the same place.
Anonymous said…
It is a shame you took the bait --- Zumthor wanting to make a change at the last minute.

The most intriguing part of the article is the visit to the monastery. It is not incidental. I suspect Zumthor was signaling something.

As I have argued before, the new LACMA building is a cloister turner inside out. There is a square, a house, and a door. There is even a bell tower (office building) which casts a shadow on the square.
Anonymous said…
The antler alternative:

http://filmstarfacts.com/2018/02/15/mad-mad-mad-mad-world-1963/
Anonymous said…
Le Corbusier also found inspiration in monastic architecture.

He wrote that it was the Monastery of Ema which made him "conscious of the harmony which results from the interplay of individual and collective life. [...] Individuality and collectivity comprehended as a fundamental dualism." (The Marseilles Block)

Monastic architecture may also account for Corbusier's analysis of space into cellular units.

The interior of the new LACMA also has a cellular composition.
Anonymous said…
Building Project: October 12 Update
October 12, 2020
Editors
This week, watch a video on how natural light sources in the new David Geffen Galleries, opening in 2024, will breathe new life into LACMA's collection. How will areas of LACMA’s collection come to life as never before? Find out in Bringing Artworks and Visitors into the Light, part of a series of short videos about the new building coming to our campus. Stay tuned for other videos in the series.

Construction Update

The following work will be conducted this week:

Installation of the remaining construction fence along the north side of Wilshire Boulevard has started.
Removal of demolished Ahmanson Building debris and foundations continues.
Removal of foundations of the Art of the Americas Building continues.
Grading to prepare for shoring installations north of Wilshire Boulevard is completed.
Material deliveries for shoring installations north of Wilshire Boulevard are completed.
Shoring systems installations north of Wilshire Boulevard will begin.
Foundations installations at the Spaulding Lot have started and will continue.
Construction Hours

Monday–Friday: 7 am–7 pm

Saturday: 8 am–6 pm

https://unframed.lacma.org/2020/10/12/building-project-october-12-update
Anonymous said…
I am such an unsuspecting bear led right to the trap.
One an wish the twosome the best possible outcome at this point and still chuckle at the likely budgetary problems that might make for comeuppance after a less than even moderately transparent process. OMA’’s “you’ll save money by tearing it down” did not quite work out and they were a modest bunch after starting the demolition derby. My least favorite strategy along this more recent bumpy road is justifying jumping the boulevard by a comparison to a million square foot mall and an even larger convention center. Or that the necessity of a vaulting, stretchy single story was somehow the same as providing health care workers, particularly given the times, with a convenience bridge to their car, or more immediate access to another wing of the hospital. And the Lucas is over an abandoned street, not a major boulevard. But apples are oranges when you need them to be. The noble goal of claiming equality of cultures can ring hollow with the negligence in one’s own backyard. But moving forward is now upon us.
It seems as if the kick off for this next stage is Zumthor’s angst as to whether he is fully appreciated after the umpteenth design change—which no doubt is better as the shadow casting studies on the Goff finally paid off—and cautioning from the client about the 650 figure, or else; all among the interesting subplots in the beta version of the brooding, architect hating star architect who doesn’t give a damn saga.
But your fanciful analogy of an inverted monastery with the 5700 as a city scaled minimalist campanile is at least perhaps more plausible than the they-did-it-so-why-can’t-we smokescreen; bringing the floating the floating smaller scale—until you are under it—to larger prominence. Museum as monastery, however, might not be quite in line with the de rigueur poststructuralist selling point for the single floor that closed the deal, but it is an idea. A bit city phobic, but then the west side acropolis got the retreat bit going a while ago so maybe it’s now an LA art-as-religion thing.
The overriding sense for some is a melancholy after multiple building campaigns that never seem to arrive at a successful resolve. The Berlin NG in LA—they almost got to Mies before that commission began—is quite the daydream of happier museum going lives amongst LACMA’s riches that might have been. But it became two floors and bulldog insistence now tells us that such hierarchy formation is bad. Not to say that a Chipperfield rough renovation of kitsch corporate classicism stripped bear might have been interesting, but the bigger splash is, of course, still the sign of the times. I just wish the thing fit.
So let’s go with your optimism and wish them, and Clark, well; especially Clark. There is no doubt no problem, in the even more current sign of the times, that an enthralled trustee board full of millionaires cannot solve when the time comes. Still lots of trust to squander.
Anonymous said…
Building Project: October 19 Update
October 19, 2020
Editors
This week, watch LACMA's curators explain how the new David Geffen Galleries, opening in 2024, will establish connections between artworks across time and cultures. How will artworks talk to one another across time periods, traditions, and borders in the new David Geffen Galleries at LACMA? Find out in Making Connections, part of a series of short videos about the new building coming to our campus.

Construction Update

The following work will be conducted this week:

Foundations installation for the new building at the Spaulding Lot continues.
Installation of the remaining construction fence along the north side of Wilshire Boulevard continues.
Removal of foundations of the Ahmanson Building and Art of the Americas Building continues.
Final grading to prepare for shoring installations north of Wilshire Boulevard on the eastern side of the site has been completed.
Shoring installation north of Wilshire Boulevard on the eastern side of the site has started and will continue.
Construction Hours

Monday–Friday: 7 am–7 pm

Saturday: 8 am–6 pm

https://unframed.lacma.org/2020/10/19/building-project-october-19-update
Anonymous said…
https://www.lamag.com/mag-features/michael-govan-lacma/

Popular Posts