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October 3, 2008

This week, another piece in the ongoing expansion/renovation of the formerly dated and dreary Los Angeles County Museum of Art was revealed.

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For months, cryptic signs on the plywood surrounding the unfinished northwest corner of the LACMA campus–a vast gravel pit and bulldozer corral on Fairfax Avenue, across from a 99 Cents Only store–have promised an exciting new development. On Monday, architect Renzo Piano unveiled plans for a 200-foot-by-180-foot structure clad in travertine, marble and glass, which will be named the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion (after the L.A. couple who recently gave the museum $55 million).

The new building isn't exactly exciting: In keeping with the rest of Piano's updates to the museum, the one-story gallery space promises to be clean, functional, and a bit boring. Most interesting is the glass roof, which, according to LACMA, will " flood the galleries with natural light"–an art conservator's nightmare, due to sunlight's deteriorating effect on paintings and drawings.

But anything that adds extra art space to the neighborhood is a welcome addition. The new Piano building is yet another turn in the architectural churn that has taken place in the surrounding Fairfax district in recent years: from the unholy yet awesome fusing of the Hollywood Farmers Market and The Grove shopping center, to rampant, recession-be-damned new office and condo construction along Wilshire Boulevard.

More on the new LACMA is at Curbed LA.

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