A year after we last checked, a trio of tower cranes has risen at the former site of LACMA's lost William Pereira- and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer-designed buildings, showing the most visible signs of progress on a controversial $750-million remodel of the Mid-Wilshire campus.
The project, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, will consist of a new concrete and steel structure spanning above and across Wilshire Boulevard, containing 350,000 square feet of floor area within its undulating two-story frame.
LACMA will reportedly name the new wing the "David Geffen Galleries," in honor of one of its principal donors.
The construction process, which began with the demolition of some of LACMA's original buildings in 2020, is expected to be completed in 2023.
While the revamp, championed by museum director Michael Govan, has received the support of local elected officials, LACMA has faced a barrage of criticism due to a decision to raze the original Pereira structures, as well as a growing price tag that has alarmed at least one Los Angeles County official.
Originally pitched as a $650-million project, pre-pandemic estimates had placed the estimated price tag for the Zumthor building at $750 million. One report, which cited internal e-mails between Los Angeles County officials, warned that the end cost could run as high as $900 million.
Likewise, critics have pointed out that the Zumthor-designed plan, despite its budget, will in fact result in less space than the buildings that it replaced.
Despite the controversy, the LACMA revamp remains one of the most high-profile changes along the Miracle Mile, which recently saw the completion of the $388-million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures at Wilshire and Fairfax Avenue.
East of LACMA, the County selected architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi in 2019 to lead a new master plan for the La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum.
- LACMA (Urbanize LA)