Posts tagged with "Peter Zumthor":

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LACMA Lovers League starts petition to pause Zumthor's new building

A new petition on Change.org is calling for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to reconsider its unanimous vote to certify the final environmental impact report (FEIR) to raze and build over much of the historic Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) complex. Started by a group called the LACMA Lovers League, the appeal urges those against the county’s decision to sign in support of halting the FEIR and encourage leadership to engage in a more open discussion with the community. Since the release of the report in March, the Peter Zumthordesigned plan for the site has garnered even more widespread criticism because, in order to achieve it, the existing 54-year-old complex by modernist architect William L. Pereira, would need to be demolished. It would also effectively diminish the space reserved for the museum’s permanent collection and take away room for libraries and conservation facilities. Overall, the $650 million proposal, which was updated with new renderings in late April, is “not a suitable replacement,” AN’s West Coast editor wrote in an earlier review. Originally, Zumthor’s vision referenced a splash of oil—it was an amorphous black canopy that spanned Wilshire Boulevard. Now, it’s lighter, more airy, and shorter in height. Still, critics have been skeptical—as AN's editor put it, it’s “just plain bad.” Despite a massive outcry from both the public and leaders in the fields of art and architecture, the decision to approve the environmental report was made on April 9 in a 5-0 vote. In moving forward with the redevelopment project, supervisors also granted $117.5 million in public funding. According to the petition, this outright approval was inconsiderate both to the historic integrity of L.A.’s cultural heritage, but also to the many voices that expressed serious and immediate concern: “In doing so,” reads the petitions, “[the L.A. County Board of Supervisors] ignored recent criticism published by the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Curbed LA,  Architectural Record, The Art Newspaper and The Architect’s Newspaper, and hundreds of public comments running 83% against the project.” At the time of publication, the petition had gathered 11 signatures.
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New batch of renderings for Zumthor’s LACMA proposal unveiled

Just a few weeks after receiving formal approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Atelier Peter Zumthor has unveiled a new batch of renderings for its contentious plan to remake the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA) campus. Urbanize.LA first reported the latest renderings Tuesday afternoon. The new images depict the oil stain–inspired complex in a similar level of detail as previous images released for the project, and provide little new information in terms of the potential interior layout of the elevated galleries, the ways in which the complex will meet the ground, or the spatial and urban qualities of the underpass areas to be created when the complex spans Wilshire Boulevard. The images depict a more polished view of what has already been unveiled, however, including new views of the gallery spaces. According to the renderings, the new continuous galleries that will house the museum’s permanent collections will sit on an elevated platform lifted off the ground by a series of thick piers, with each pier containing circulation spaces and other forms of programming, including an auditorium on the southernmost parcel of the site. The renderings show sleek floor-to-ceiling glass walls wrapping the outermost layers of the proposed building. The galleries are shown sandwiched between thick, monolithic concrete floor and roof plates, with the building’s large, flat roof shown projecting beyond the walls to create a shading overhang. The renderings also depict Tony Smith’s Smoke sculpture, currently located on the ground level of the existing William L. Pereira–designed complex that will be demolished to make way for the new design, tucked underneath the new elevated galleries. The views of the galleries show discrete concrete-walled rooms filled with an eclectic mix of permanent collection items in spaces framed by black terrazzo floors and concrete ceilings studded with golden spotlights. The renderings come as LACMA prepares to put detailed models and plans for the project on public display for the first time in coming weeks.
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LACMA proposal moves forward despite fierce opposition

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.

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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Zumthor’s LACMA proposal is an affront to L.A.’s architectural and cultural heritage

Despite gaining approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in April, what has already been said many times needs to be said once more: Peter Zumthor’s oil slick–inspired redevelopment proposal for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus is just plain bad.

Say what you will about the existing mish-mash of buildings designed by William L. Pereira & Associates and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (HHPA) the scheme seeks to demolish, but the $650 million Zumthor proposal is simply not a suitable replacement.

Many have already delved into the (really) long list of reasons why Zumthor’s proposal leaves so much to be desired—its substandard size, inflated cost, and absurd urban configuration among the top reasons to dismiss the idea. But worse still, perhaps, is that the overpriced proposal will also destroy a vital urban cultural resource: the museum itself, as Angelenos know it.

Critics might not like to say so, but LACMA is a real place and a beautiful one, at that. The terrace sandwiched between the HHPA addition and the main Pereira building can be effervescent when tour groups, families, and aficionados converge upon it, for example. Pereira’s galleries next door are peculiar, yes, but the spaces just off the elevator, wrapped in warm wood paneling and studded with delightful details like inlaid clocks and flush-mounted wood accessory doors, are dignified and rich in a way that simply isn't found in other L.A. art museums. HHPA’s building may form an impenetrable wall along Wilshire, but when you finally find the entry, a shaded outdoor living room soothed by flowing water and the jovial sounds of the social life taking place on the terrace beyond create a public space articulated for the senses.

For better or worse, the current manifestation of the complex has existed for a longer period of time—37 years—than any other of LACMA’s incarnations. The current configuration is LACMA, it’s the LACMA that director Michael Govan inherited when he arrived from New York, and it is the LACMA he wants to destroy as he strives to leave his mark.

Though the current configuration leaves much to be desired, Govan has had to strong-arm the Zumthor project into being, weathering withering criticism of the ever-devolving proposal without pursuing any meaningful changes to the design.

Govan, of course, did downsize the proposal as fundraising efforts pushed up against their natural limits, but he has persisted in pushing a vision that is fundamentally and irrevocably flawed.

In a way, the project and the persistence in bringing it to life despite its continuing and multiplying inadequacies follows a long line of efforts to undermine the legitimacy of Los Angeles and its unique architectural and cultural history.

To put it plainly, Zumthor’s LACMA represents the latest attempt to apply a colonial mentality to Los Angeles. It follows in the tradition of slash-and-burn conquests waged by powerful men who, like Zumthor, a Swiss starchitect, and Govan, former director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York City, come to Los Angeles and see nothing but a blank slate. They land at LAX as “visionaries” blinded by their own genius to the thriving richness of everyday life here.

It’s not that they are violent and destructive men. Zumthor’s delicately reverential Kolumba Museum in Cologne, Germany, and Govan’s meticulous restoration of the former Nabisco headquarters for Dia: Beacon suggest that both are capable of thoughtful and respectful restorations. The reality is that, like many who came to Los Angeles before them, they simply don’t value the city s as a real place with a long, complex, and legitimate history.

Late modernism and postmodernism are fundamental to Los Angeles’s design history, however, and Angelenos should not let others delete them away.

The majority of people here inhabit these types of buildings in one way or another. It’s where we go to the doctor, it’s where our children go to school, it’s where we work, it’s where we learn about art. To try and minimize that aspect of Angeleno culture, to try and erase the sometimes contrived nature of late modernism or the often over-the-top pastiche of pomo, erases a fundamental aspect of who Angelenos are and how they live.

Often, outside voices serve to turn a mirror on a place, uncovering morsels of beauty from what might be considered banal to the local eye. Zumthor and Govan have failed in this regard and instead seek to erase buildings that are neither fully understood nor appropriately admired. Los Angeles has had enough of that; perhaps it’s time for some fresh thinking.

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Peter Zumthor lightens and shortens LACMA design

Peter Zumthor's office has released new renderings of its new building for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In this latest update, the building's amorphous "canopy" level still sprawls across Wilshire Boulevard, and several pavilions still connect the upper level to the plaza, but now those pavilions are shorter and do not rise above the upper level. The building's material also appears to have been toned down; previous renderings showed striations on the pavilions' exterior, but now all facades seem to be blank concrete. The building's color has come a long way since the building was conceived as a kind of oil slick, referencing the local tar pits. Originally, the building was a sort of black blob, but over the past couple of years, that color seems to have been phased out. The sprawling elevated floor has remained throughout the project's development. The new building will replace an existing William Pereira–designed structure and is scheduled to be finished in 2023.
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LACMA is planning to launch up to five satellite campuses throughout L.A. County

During a recent breakfast with members of the local AIA|LA chapter at Gensler’s Los Angeles offices, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan announced a potential plan to add up to five satellite campuses to LACMA’s current sites. While the plan is largely still in the works, Govan explained that as the institution seeks to demolish and replace its existing William Pereira and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer-designed complex, LACMA was “hitting the limit for space on Wilshire Boulevard” and would need to start looking at other sites for potential future expansions.  Explaining that he had explicitly instructed Peter Zumthor—the architect behind the controversial $600 million revamp—to design a singular structure that would be difficult to expand, Govan said, “There’s never been a building that’s been added onto that has been made better [because of that addition].” Govan explained that it would be better if LACMA’s future expansions happened “elsewhere in Los Angeles” so that the new facilities might become a resource for the broader population of Los Angeles County. Govan then detailed a conceptual plan for the future of a “de-centralized” LACMA that could bring a jolt of arts and educational programming to arts-starved communities throughout the city, starting with South Los Angeles, where the organization recently announced what could turn out to be its first regional outpost.  Earlier this year, LACMA announced plans to expand to a 80,000-square-foot industrial building in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and to a vacant site located in the 104-acre Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in an effort to boost community outreach and make better use of its resources while the expansion at the Wilshire campus is under construction.  LACMA is also currently operating a small gallery at Charles White Elementary School in L.A.’s MacArthur Park neighborhood, where it is working to have an updated security and ticketing system installed that would allow the space to be open to the public on weekends, Govan explained. LACMA plans to exhibit objects from its collections there and to work with local artists and students at the school to create programming for the site, as well.  Aiming for a “decentered museum for a decentered metropolis,” Govan also explained that LACMA is currently partnered with the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College for an exhibition on ancient Egyptian artifacts in LACMA’s collection. Govan hinted that sites in the San Fernando Valley were also potentially under consideration and that ultimately, he would like to see five 50,000-square-foot satellites in operation over the next decade or so. 
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L.A. Conservancy fights to landmark CBS's Television City

While William Pereira’s Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) may soon face the wrecking ball in favor of Peter Zumthor’s tar-inspired blob, the Los Angeles Conservancy is trying to ensure that another iconic Pereira building remains. On Monday, the Conservancy filed an application to landmark Pereira and Luckman’s Television City, an International Style icon at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax. CBS is reportedly considering a sale of the site, which brokers have valued at anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion. Built in 1952, Television City was one of the first complexes constructed specifically for television production and broadcasting. Containing sound stages, studios, editing rooms, offices, and rehearsal halls, its rectangular volumes are clad in black and white walls of glass and stucco, with red accents. The complex has hosted The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, and The Ed Sullivan Show, and is currently home to The Price Is Right and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Landmark designation would require preservation design review and approval through the city’s Office of Historic Resources to guide any redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the campus, including new infill construction.
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New renderings revealed for Zumthor's LACMA expansion

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Atelier Zumthor have unveiled new renderings for the institution’s planned $600 million expansion. According to a Draft Environmental Impact Report produced by the design and development team, the forthcoming 390,000-square-foot expansion aims to demolish the entirety of the existing William Pereira–designed campus, including a 1986 addition by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer done in the postmodern style. The proposed changes would leave in place the 2008 Renzo Piano-designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum addition as well as the Japanese Pavilion by Bruce Goff from 1988. Despite its hefty price tag and the sacrifice of several key works of late modern and postmodern architecture, Zumthor’s proposal will generate a net loss in gallery space for the institution. According to the impact report, the new museum will contain 390,000 square feet of space, roughly 5,000 square feet fewer than the current configuration. Instead, the new museum will be designed as a singular mega-gallery carved up into differently-sized rooms. The configuration will sit roughly 20 feet above street level and is currently designed to span across Wilshire Boulevard. The elevated galleries—treated in Zumthor’s well-worn, board-formed concrete aesthetic—will be accessible via seven circulation piers and a pair of monumental staircases that connect the galleries to the ground. The mega-gallery will be wrapped in perimeter circulation and expanses of clear glass. Renderings for the complex depict the south- and west-facing blob to achieve solar shading via low-cost means: southern sun will be shaded by a deep roof overhang while interior curtains will do their best to block out western glare. The museum will touch down across the street where the circulation pod will house an amphitheater. There are several questions surrounding the project, especially with regard to how the structure will span over Wilshire Boulevard. Renderings depict a highway overpass-reminiscent quality to the spaces below the over-Wilshire span, with open glass areas along the amphitheater side. The draft report indicates that the designers are pursuing an option that would contain the development entirely on the northern side of Wilshire Boulevard, however. Either way, with a subway line currently going in underneath the street, and the unstable, tar- and fossil-heavy soils occupying the current museum site, the project will surely be a boon to the project’s engineers. Plans call for the proposal to undergo further review over the next several months. Construction is expected to begin sometime in late 2018, with the final museum completed in 2023.
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Updated: Peter Zumthor unveils new images and concepts for LACMA replacement

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan have unveiled a slew of new images and design concepts for a scheme aiming to replace Los Angeles's largest art museum with a new 368,000-square foot complex. The plans were revealed last night during a joint talk delivered by Zumthor and Govan to a packed audience at the Brown Auditorium on the LACMA campus, where Govan explained that the project sought to re-signify the museum experience and undermine the traditional museum typology by creating a structure with “no back, no front.” The efforts, according to Govan and Zumthor, are aimed at granting prominence to art objects more equally, instead of relegating certain collections to the museum’s nether regions, as is currently the case. The plans build on a previously-released—and much-derided scheme—that aims to create a large, continuous gallery elevated high above the museum’s site in a structure that would span across Wilshire Boulevard to the south. The sinuous, oil-slick inspired structure—an homage to the La Brea Tar Pits next door—is lifted above the ground on a series of seven pavilion towers that house public galleries, conservation spaces, circulation, ground level cafes and restaurants, and an amphitheater. The pavilions stretch up into the levitated mass to create a complex set of interlocking gallery spaces. According to Zumthor, the project contains four types of galleries along this level: so-called meander galleries along the periphery, with smaller “pocket galleries” located throughout and grouped “cluster galleries” and “tower galleries” contained within the pavilions. The “tower galleries” in the scheme will be located within tall, triple-height light cannons meant to funnel sunlight into the galleries. The design is capped by a massive, continuously overhanging roof that would shield the museum’s collection from southern sun; black, retractable drapes are to be installed along eastern and western exposures to control for low-angle solar glare. Zumthor expressed a strong desire to create a museum from “real materials, not sheetrock,” and has proposed board-formed concrete surfaces for the gallery interiors. The building’s exterior—in fact, the entire building, generally speaking—will be made of concrete, as well. This material, depicted in the new images in mud-colored tones, is meant to evoke the Texas Limestone cladding of the nearby Renzo Piano–designed Broad Contemporary Art Museum and A.C. Martin–designed May Company building. In describing the project, Zumthor explained that his scheme originated with the traditional, non-purpose-built art museum: spaces originally constructed as homes for elite art patrons that brought in light via peripheral windows. This “side light,” according to Zumthor, creates dynamic conditions that allow patrons to “make personal discoveries” within artworks and drove the concept’s organization of small, oddly-shaped galleries with various connections to the outdoors. A preliminary timeline for the project aims to finish the project by 2023, in time for the opening of a new subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard. For more info, see the LACMA website.
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Peter Zumthor's much anticipated zinc mine museum opens this month in Norway

Located on the southwestern tip of Norway in Sauda, the Allmannajuvet ravine was once at the heart of Norway's zinc mining industry. Allmannajuvet began operating in 1881 but twenty years—and 12,000 tons of zinc ore—later, the zinc market took a turn for the worse, leading the mine's closure. 115 years later, Allmannajuvet is now the subject of a Peter Zumthor design. The Swiss architect has been working on this much-anticipated project going all the way back to 2002. Officially a museum, the design incorporates a café, bathroom, and parking facilities into a series of roadside structures. True to form, Zumthor's phenomenological approach to architecture places a heavy emphasis on materiality and its relationship to the striking landscape. Such breathtaking scenery can be commonly found in Norway, a country known for its fair share of natural beauty. The Norwegian authorities helming the project—in this case, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration's Tourist Routes Section—are fully aware of that natural asset. Since its founding in 1994, the group has created 18 scenic routes that showcase Norway's both man-made and natural history. The small creosote and laminated timber structures cling to the landscape. Encased in plywood cladding, the minimalist, all-black interiors dramatically contrast against the surrounding landscape. While appearing tectonically simple, construction has been a drawn-out, five-year process: Seldom are former mines and rocky terrain accoladed with monuments. The museum is due to open at the end of the month, though an exact, official date hasn't been released.
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New renderings revealed for Peter Zumthor's sinuous LACMA redesign

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Atelier Peter Zumthor launched a website yesterday, BuildingLACMA.org, that touts newly revealed renderings for a $600 million project aimed at demolishing LACMA’s existing galleries in exchange for a wholly new museum by the famed Swiss architect. The website launch comes as the first step toward the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required for the project to move into the construction phase. Thursday’s announcement also set out a date for the first “scoping meeting” for the current phase of the project, to be held on August 24, to hear public comment regarding the extent and scope of the EIR study. Zumthor’s updated renderings speak to the overriding parti of the project, an expansive, sinuous, continuous gallery spanning across Wilshire Boulevard, elevated on eight “pavilions.” A quote featured on the website states the following premise for the design: “With a horizontal layout and no back or front, every culture is given equal focus.” LACMA’s preference for the continuous, single-story gallery is seen as an equalizing and modernizing force for the encyclopedic art institution founded in 1910, during an era where European art was often displayed prominently while the works of other cultures were relegated to basements or accessory structures. LACMA’s impetus for the demolition of  L.A. architect William Pereira’s 1965 structure is also touted as a pragmatic choice to replace “inefficient, deteriorating buildings with new, environmentally sustainable structures, embracing state-of-the-art resource management and technology.” In the current era of supersized museum expansions and relocations, however, it is perplexing that Zumthor’s designs for the new museum will actually create smaller overall building for the new LACMA. The new plans call for an approximately 368,000 square foot structure, while the current arrangement beats that projection by nearly 25,000 square feet. There is a plus side, however: The reorientation of the museum, use of “pavilions” as footholds, and overall decrease in gallery space will have the effect of producing 2.5 acres of additional public outdoor open space. The project aims for a 2023 completion date, due to coincide with the opening of an extension to the city’s Purple Line subway route, which will have a stop adjacent to the museum complex.
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Eavesdrop> Spidey Style: The elusive designs of Tobey Maguire's residential architecture

No sooner than AN got news of an acronym-designed residence for actor-producer-architecture fan Tobey Maguire than we remembered his changeable real estate history. Previously, he nabbed Peter Zumthor to design his house and just last spring he flipped a vintage number by Santa Monica architect John Byers. His latest is a 1,200-square-foot art studio by Koning Eizenberg. Perhaps that’s where he’ll set up his Office of Mercurial Architecture.