Collect $117.5 Million

LACMA proposal moves forward despite fierce opposition

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an environmental report for a controversial proposal by Peter Zumthor for the new LACMA campus. (Peter Zumthor/The Boundary)

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve an environmental review report for a controversial plan by Peter Zumthor for a new Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus.

The vote propels the plan one step closer to reality and effectively paves the way for an existing complex designed by William L. Pereira & Associates and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates  (HHPA) to be demolished.

By a 5-0 vote, the supervisors voted to grant the project $117.5 million in public funding so that the project can move forward. The vote came during a star-studded public comment period that included cameos from Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton, as well as from several prominent local architects and artists.

The approval follows several weeks of critical outcry, including from AN, focused on the perceived inadequacies of the Zumthor plan.

Rendering of proposed building

The proposal has been likened to an oil slick, a toll booth, and airport terminal. (Peter Zumthor/The Boundary)

Critics have argued that the proposal shrinks the amount of overall space dedicated to the museum’s permanent collection, eliminates necessary libraries and conservation facilities, and that the scheme was conceived largely behind closed doors. Boosters for the project highlight the development’s potential to create a new architectural landmark for the region. Many of the speakers for the proposal at the meeting, including several of the supervisors themselves, supported another LACMA plan to bring a collection of satellite campuses to sites dispersed around LA County. 

The vote is the latest chapter in a long-running saga to expand the museum. Previous designs by other international architecture firms, most notably OMA, have come and gone over the years. With the latest approval, however, it appears momentum has finally reached a critical mass for the project.

Detailed plans and a scale model are slated to go on display at LACMA for public viewing in coming weeks.

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