LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART

LOS ANGELES, USA

Re-imagining and Restructuring Space 

Since mid-60s LACMA has been vital and vibrant part of the Los Angeles cultural scene. The inhabitants of the city have embraced the museum and the space as their own, and it has become an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric, woven into its ‘s memory and history.

Given the current pandemic crisis and the likely adverse economic conditions that will follow, we have chosen to adopt a more sustainable option by adapting and reusing part of the original buildings. In this way we shall preserve the best elements of the past while creating a more contemporary multiuse, alternative space that becomes an iconic landmark for the City of Angels. The question then arises to what extent the existing buildings of this important landmark heritage needs to be preserved and strengthened according to earthquake code. The new engineering approaches give us viable rational solutions to keep this option.

Background and the Current Configuration of the Site

Our design approach seeks to re-envisage a new space that frees up the core by lifting/elevating the big mass porosity allowing movement, and making it more attractive and accessible to the public.

We shall maintain the key architectural concept of clustered blocks coming together to form a whole, while at the same time loosening the density and establishing a more fluid, open public ground with communal space at its center that creates contact, communication and a sense of cohesion.

We therefore propose to demolish the Art of Americas Building and introduce a new elevated structure which respects the proportions of the existing site. Creating an elevated new structure re-establishes the connection between Wilshire Boulevard and the LA Times Central Courtyard and gives this new entrance an accessible, sheltered forecourt. A gentle ramp /walkway will take you from street level on Wilshire Boulevard to a spacious lobby level which is adjacent to LA Times Central Courtyard. LACMA East Campus is formed by different components, the new central lobby area acts as a gathering point and introductive hub between the Ahmanson Building, the Hammer Building, the Bing Center and our newly proposed building. By introducing direct entrance from street level, we are giving easy access to all levels and making the whole museum more accessible.

Elastic stretch between the street level and elevated box which inhabit galleries works as an architectural landscape establishing the connection between plaza and street level for pedestrian circulation while awakening curiosity. 

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New Layout and Programmatic Distribution

Since the existing East Campus’ administrative, curatorial and service spaces are located at ground level, we are allocating newly built administrative and curatorial spaces adjacent to existing ones. 

While we are offering generic white orthogonal art display galleries at higher levels, to enrich the museums wide variety of exhibition spaces, we shall introduce an alternative exhibition environment consisting of a spiralling promenade-like ramp, offering vistas onto gallery space within the atrium. This approach will give viewers open perspectives at different levels similar to the Guggenheim effect in New York. Our proposal offers gallery lined up with stepping terraced galleries looking into each other in a big atrium, offering alternative points of view along the way to different levels. The gallery spaces where art works may be exhibited individually and if required the space may be conceived as a whole to exhibit one large work.    

The central space (atrium hall) may also become a multipurpose venue offering a fluid iconic space that strengthens the Museums identity. It becomes a collective core where people can appreciate art in a wider context of social exchange and public interaction. 

Our newly proposed building’s South, East and West facing facades will not have openings, as they are dedicated to exhibition space, while the all glass North facade will view the Hollywood Hills from the upper levels and serve as lobby and resting areas for the gallery spaces. 

We propose to have a restaurant at the top level with panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills. Direct access to the restaurant will allow operating outside of museum hours. The Restaurant may act as a stand-alone unit generating additional revenue source.  

The square footage of the existing buildings (The Ahmanson Building, The Hammer Building, The Bing Center) without The Arts of Americas is about approx. 255,000 sq.ft.

Our new proposed building being approx 265,000 sq.ft in total, offers 225,000 sq.ft of gallery space, lobbies with recreational areas, and 40,000 sq.ft of administrative offices, curatorial areas and other services. 

The project includes a total of 520,000 sq.ft which offers plenty of art display areas  with all supportive spaces that LACMA’s art and visitors deserve. 

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Architectural Design
Saffet Kaya Bekiroglu

Project Team

Ismail Cenk Gencer
Sevilay Göker
Ezaldeen AlSubainy

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