An eagle-eyed preservationist has sounded the alarm over a renovation of the atrium of the Wells Fargo Center on Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, designed by noted modernist landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. Envisioned as a “an urban, indoor Garden of Eden,” the publicly-accessible courtyard was the only atrium that Halprin designed.
Public art & landscape preservation alert! Immediate threat to Lawrence Halprin’s Wells Fargo Atrium on Bunker Hill. Robert Graham’s nudes are already gone. https://t.co/lm1Ul1Q2Td@TCLFdotORG @LAConservancy @AplusD_LA #DTLA #thisplacematters pic.twitter.com/jLRuQOXV8E
— Esotouric’s Secret Los Angeles (@esotouric) December 21, 2017
Halprin’s original design for the atrium called for a network of fountains, each featuring their own sculpture, that fed constantly running waterways arranged in geometric patterns, which generated a pleasant background noise. As a passerby noted on Twitter yesterday, the contemporary statues by sculptors Robert Graham, Joan Miro, and Jean Dubuffet have been removed, and the runnels have been drained. After asking around, the original Twitter poster discovered that the area was being remodeled.
The atrium sits within the Wells Fargo Center, an office building designed by SOM and completed in 1983.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) notes that although this space was often underutilized by the public, Wells Fargo Center staff had up until this point kept the atrium well maintained. TCLF has been a vocal proponent of cataloguing and preserving Halprin’s work, and have organized and curated the The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin exhibition currently running at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles until the end of the year.
AN will update this story once we have more information on whether Halprin’s design, or the nude sculptures, have been removed permanently.