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12 Apr 2019

US$650m LA County Museum of Art building given green light
BY Luke Cloherty

Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, a former Pritzker Prize winner, the new building’s plans were approved at a county vote

Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, a former Pritzker Prize winner, the new building’s plans were approved at a county vote
photo: Peter Zumthor & Partner/The Boundary

A new home for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – worth an estimated US$650m (€574.6m, £497.3m) – has cleared a major hurdle having had its plans approved.

Designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, a former Pritzker Prize winner, the new building’s plans were approved at a county vote, which also cleared US$117.5m (€103.9m, £89.9m) in taxpayer funding for it.

The museum’s design has received criticism for its architectural merits, however. Zumthor’s sweeping, one-level structure, which is perched on pavilions, has drawn opposition from both architecture and art critics alike for only holding 110,000sq ft (10,219sq m) of gallery space.

One architecture critic, Joseph Giovannini, said the new building would reduce gallery space by 53,000sq ft (4,294sq m) from the current building, however, this was countered by the museum’s director Michael Govan, who said it actually only reduces it by 4,000sq ft (372sq m).

“This is the big green light everybody has been waiting for,” Govan said, speaking on the planning approval and county tax funding.

“Now we can go ahead with construction drawings and go raise the rest of the funds with the assurance this is going forward.”

Diana Thater, an artist who has exhibited at the museum, added: “I want L.A. to have this building.

“The city needs a beautiful, memorable museum that people will flock to visit. The design could potentially unify the campus, creating a more expansive, parklike setting and establish a horizontality where art from different cultures can be considered simultaneously.”

Demolition of the museum’s old buildings is set for Q1 2020, while the opening date of the new building is set for 2024.



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