Building LACMA: New Site Details Future

What's in the cards for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus?

Drive down the Miracle Mile on any weekend and you're bound to... Wait. Strike that. Maybe don't drive in that particular area, right now, which is observing weekend closures, thanks to extensive construction on Metro's Purple Line Extension.

Walking into the area to support local businesses, which remain open, is encouraged, of course. Also encouraged? Imagining, while there, a fresh look for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It's easy to do amid all of the current change, change that foretells an interesting future for the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that runs from the La Brea Tar Pits to Fairfax Avenue. And now it has become even easier: A new website called Building LACMA details the plans for the future LACMA campus, complete with a host of detailed renderings.

The large art museum, which recently marked its first half century on the Miracle Mile, has been considering major updates to its expansive Hancock Park campus for some time. Updates, it should be noted, that go beyond the additions of The Broad Contemporary Art Museum and the Resnick Pavilion and Chris Burden's "Urban Light" lampposts. Think a from-the-ground-up building, one that boasts a sinuous "bridge" across Wilshire Boulevard and a form that elegantly echoes the shape of the neighboring tar pit.

Architect Peter Zumthor shared early renderings in the early summer of 2014; the 2016 images give different perspectives on the Wilshire-bridging span and the airily amorphous form of the building on both sides of the boulevard.

"With a horizontal layout and no back or front, every culture is given equal focus," says a message on the new site. True: The renderings do not include a traditional grand entrance or foyer of any kind.

The current quartet of buildings that would make way for the Zumthor design are described as having "serious structural problems." Eighty percent of the cost of the project will hail from private donations and the county, "which will own the building," will cover the rest.

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As for a timeline? Look to 2018 for the start and 2023 as the completion year. That's a year that'll be a mighty big one on the Miracle Mile: The Purple Line Extension will also make its debut.

A FAQ on the 368,000-square-foot building is live on the new site, as is some deeper background on the project. 

A walk in that area also reveals that the Academy Museum is undergoing major construction at the historic May Company building. That will be finished well ahead of the new LACMA building, with 2018 being named as a potential open date.

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