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Resnick Pavilion at LACMA

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I was down in Los Angeles at the end of last week and between visiting clients, attending the Divine Design benefit, and generally sitting in traffic, it was a miracle I got a minute to myself. I did however manage a two-hour stop at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to have a look at the newest museum by the fine Italian architect Renzo Piano. Piano's California Academy of Sciences here in San Francisco, Morgan Library addition in New York, and Pompidou Centre in Paris are all excellent buildings so I was excited to see what the man was up to at LACMA. The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Pavilion opened just this autumn and by my lights is a splendid addition to LACMA's ever-expanding arts campus. Check out the slideshow of images I took.

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  One of the first things you'll notice upon entering the LACMA complex off of Wilshire Boulevard, once you pass the sculpture Urban Light by Chris Burden, is a covered soon-to-be-cafe space. Ray's Cafe and Stark Bar is set to open early next year. At the moment its still a nice place to sit.
    One of the first things you'll notice upon entering the LACMA complex off of Wilshire Boulevard, once you pass the sculpture Urban Light by Chris Burden, is a covered soon-to-be-cafe space. Ray's Cafe and Stark Bar is set to open early next year. At the moment its still a nice place to sit.
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  It was early December, but LA is still a great place to scope a load of bikinis. In this case, though, they're of the Eames-designed variety. Still, a nice place to sit and have a chat.
    It was early December, but LA is still a great place to scope a load of bikinis. In this case, though, they're of the Eames-designed variety. Still, a nice place to sit and have a chat.
  • 
  Here's a detail shot of the Resnick Pavilion. Inside Piano plays it pretty straight, and even from the exterior it's quite a clean building. The two big moves are the fins on the roof which double as skylights and the big red vents and ducts, which he conceived of as the building's lungs. This photo doesn't get the half of the building, but it encapsulates the two most salient design moves.
    Here's a detail shot of the Resnick Pavilion. Inside Piano plays it pretty straight, and even from the exterior it's quite a clean building. The two big moves are the fins on the roof which double as skylights and the big red vents and ducts, which he conceived of as the building's lungs. This photo doesn't get the half of the building, but it encapsulates the two most salient design moves.
  • 
  Here's a snap of the interior replete with the Olmec heads on display. The Pavilion was designed as an exhibition space, and thus seeks little more than to control the degree of light coming in and make itself available to a variety of uses. The two other shows displayed European clothing from 1715-1900 and then some 18th and 19th century pieces from the Resnick collection. All told, the building is not in any kind of competition with what's inside it, which I for one really appreciate.
    Here's a snap of the interior replete with the Olmec heads on display. The Pavilion was designed as an exhibition space, and thus seeks little more than to control the degree of light coming in and make itself available to a variety of uses. The two other shows displayed European clothing from 1715-1900 and then some 18th and 19th century pieces from the Resnick collection. All told, the building is not in any kind of competition with what's inside it, which I for one really appreciate.
  • 
  Here's a pulled-back view of the red "lungs" and the sails on top of the building. I love the Variety tower in the background. There are four big banks of red service equipment. Beyond that the palette is of glass and stone, the same used in the Broad Museum of Contemporary Art across the corridor.
    Here's a pulled-back view of the red "lungs" and the sails on top of the building. I love the Variety tower in the background. There are four big banks of red service equipment. Beyond that the palette is of glass and stone, the same used in the Broad Museum of Contemporary Art across the corridor.
  • 
  To me this is a nice distillation of what Piano did on the Pompidou Centre (where all the building's guts, ducts, vents, shafts, and other service devices were tacked onto the exterior instead of hidden away) but in a much quieter, somewhat more abstract way. Where the Pompidou Centre is busy on the exterior, this building feels almost like a toy.
    To me this is a nice distillation of what Piano did on the Pompidou Centre (where all the building's guts, ducts, vents, shafts, and other service devices were tacked onto the exterior instead of hidden away) but in a much quieter, somewhat more abstract way. Where the Pompidou Centre is busy on the exterior, this building feels almost like a toy.
  • 
  These two much have been architectural tourists as well. They were wandering all over, climbing up on walls and generally poking about like I was. That or they were looking for the way into the underground parking lot.
    These two much have been architectural tourists as well. They were wandering all over, climbing up on walls and generally poking about like I was. That or they were looking for the way into the underground parking lot.
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  Here's a view of the roof extending off to the mountains. It has rather an appealing sense of infinity.
    Here's a view of the roof extending off to the mountains. It has rather an appealing sense of infinity.
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  Here's the back facade of the building, all glass and natural light.
    Here's the back facade of the building, all glass and natural light.
  • 
  The Resnick is on the left of this corridor and the Broad on the right. It felt like a forest of red steel.
    The Resnick is on the left of this corridor and the Broad on the right. It felt like a forest of red steel.
  • 
  Piano's first foray into design at LACMA was the Broad Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 2008. The same sail effect on the roof is in evidence, but this building, just across a small path, is vertical where the Resnick lies lower to the ground.
    Piano's first foray into design at LACMA was the Broad Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 2008. The same sail effect on the roof is in evidence, but this building, just across a small path, is vertical where the Resnick lies lower to the ground.
  • 
  Here it is seen from the other side with Burden's Urban Light installation in front.
    Here it is seen from the other side with Burden's Urban Light installation in front.
  • 
  I didn't want to bother them, but there was a wedding party taking photos in and amongst the poles of Urban Light. The bride looked lovely but by the time I arrived they had pretty much cast off the formality of the photo shoot. As you can see from the sweaters and shoes left on this low wall, the bridesmaids had literally kicked off their heels to play with their friends in the sculpture.
    I didn't want to bother them, but there was a wedding party taking photos in and amongst the poles of Urban Light. The bride looked lovely but by the time I arrived they had pretty much cast off the formality of the photo shoot. As you can see from the sweaters and shoes left on this low wall, the bridesmaids had literally kicked off their heels to play with their friends in the sculpture.

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