Scratch Tan, Zumthor LACMA Will Be Gray (Maybe)

Feb. 2022 rendering showing the proposed gray color

Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles posted a link to a Feb. 2022 Addendum to the Environmental Impact Report for LACMA's new, Peter Zumthor-designed permanent collection building. The museum is now contemplating a concrete gray color for the structure. This would replace the previous "tan, warm, earthy" color (unveiled in 2017) and the original tar-pit black (2013). The filing says

“LACMA is now considering a natural light gray concrete color for the Museum Building as the proposed hue would be more consistent with the surrounding buildings on both ends of Hancock Park and the LACMA campus itself. Additionally, as the concrete in the interior would be the same color as the exterior, the natural light gray color is a better backdrop for the art that will be displayed.”

The report cites the use of gray concrete in the Academy Museum's theater (named for David Geffen, as will be the new LACMA structure), LACMA's two existing Renzo Piano buildings, and Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass; and even the gray paint of the street lamps in Chris Burden's Urban Light. It asserts that the gray color would comply with "Guideline 8 and Standard 8a of the Miracle Mile CDO, which call for the use of a color palette which complements adjacent buildings and promotes the Art Deco identity of the Miracle Mile and limits the use of bright or intense colors in large areas." (As to how that Art Deco identity's going, check out the Petersen Automotive Museum.)

I would emphasize that LACMA has not announced the color change, and the language of the addendum is less than decisive. It's possible that LACMA wants to have the paperwork in place, should Zumthor settle on gray at the last minute.

c. 2019 rendering showing the tan color at twilight

Rendering showing the gray color. This image shows a fence on the north side of Wilshire and an extension to the palm garden


Anonymous said…
The gray is better since it will make LACMA more evocative of a freeway overpass.

Then the museum's board and director can change LACMA's mission statement to reflect their becoming a repository for tents, cardboard boxes and shopping carts. If they're really on the ball, the museum will pump into the galleries the scent of urine, feces and grass.

By the way, the Ahmanson Foundation donated mainly junk too.

The trustees can also modify the statement that they're into the fine art of draperies. Does the museum's costume council collect fabric window coverings? If not, they should.

Even better, LACMA should now modify the mission statement to proclaim they're into the art of selfie-cell-phone images.
Anonymous said…
You follow Esotouric. Those people are batshit crazy.

Honestly, they are the QAnon of historic preservation with all their conspiracy theories.

... As to the color of the building, the color tan had already given way to a white grey. See the first formal renderings of the interior.

Also, grey concrete is a hard color to render. Here are some actual, grey concrete building from a range of architects:

The Salk Institute is also made of grey concrete. So is Kahn's British Art Center. (I think the grey of the British Art Center is the one that Zumthor has in mind.)

David Chipperfield and Tadao Ando also make ample use of grey concrete.
Chipperfield's grey tends to be whiter than Ando's.
If there's the choice of pale for outside and grey for art-display interior I vote for that.
Anonymous said…
Another good thing about Govan's-Zumothor's project is that the museum's budget won't be bogged down for years into the future.

Both lots of gray concrete and plenty of dollars.

JG said…
I see that the rendering also shows the addition of considerable fencing towards the street at the area of the underpass. Is this for security during the evenings? Much less public space that previously shown.
Anonymous said…
I still think the tan renderings with the chapel galleries was the best. It was a nice departure from the bland uniformity of the other renderings.
Luce said…
The calm pleasant roadway with very few cars and strolling pedestrians in the rendering is- Wilshire Blvd.