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LACMA’s $650m building by Peter Zumthor approved by county supervisors


Los Angeles County Museum of Art has won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors for a $650m extension, designed by Peter Zumthor.

The supervisors voted to certify the new building’s final environmental impact report, to approve demolition of four existing LACMA buildings, and to release $117.5m in funding and an associated $300m bond to the project.

Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton attended the Board of Supervisors meeting to urge board members to release the $117.5m in county funds for LACMA’s redesign, by Swiss architect Zumthor.

“This is a milestone moment, this is the big green light to go forward,” museum director Michael Govan told Los Angeles Times.

The new building, The David Geffen Galleries, is part of LACMA’s long-term plan to expand and improve its galleries and public space.

LACMA’s 15-year expansion

David Geffen gifts $150 million towards new LACMA building

Costing around $500m to renovate and spanning Wilshire Boulevard, it will replace four buildings – Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, Hammer, and Bing.

The new building will be approximately 347,500 square feet, replacing approximately 393,000 square feet of existing buildings.

When the new building opens and joins the Pavilion for Japanese Art, BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion, LACMA will have, over 15 years, increased its indoor exhibition space from 130,000 to 220,000 square feet and added 3.5 acres of park and open outdoor space.

It also includes a new theatre, education spaces, three restaurants, a museum shop, and covered multi-purpose event spaces.

Elaine Wynn and Tony Ressler, co-chairs of LACMA’s board of trustees, said: “This building marks the culmination of a decade of transformation at LACMA, and we can’t wait to see how Peter Zumthor’s building will redefine the experience of art.”

‘Simpler, more beautiful design’

David Geffen gifts $150 million towards new LACMA building

“I am honoured by the outpouring of support for our project, and want to acknowledge the many speakers and attendees at the meeting today,” stated LACMA CEO Michael Govan.

“We are tremendously grateful to the County for its consistent support of our project, as well as to the generous leaders of the campaign, who have made significant pledges to make this building a reality.”

“And thanks to the thoughtful comments by members of the community, the design of the building has become simpler, more beautiful, more transparent, with enhanced access to the park.”

Abatement is planned for late 2019, while construction is scheduled for early 2020.

The museum said it is aiming for “substantial completion” of the new building by the end of 2023. The public opening has been pushed to early 2024.

Galleries and museums are evolving as they look to keep pace with visitor expectations and rapidly developing technology – find out more about artainment.

Images: LACMA renderings – Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner/The Boundary

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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