Just over a half-year after we last dropped in, the Wilshire-spanning David Geffen Galleries continue to take shape at the LACMA campus.

Aerial view of LACMA campus looking southwestHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

The $750-million project, which replaced older structures designed by William Pereira and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, consists of a two-story building which will feature approximately 350,000 square feet of space when completed. That total includes roughly 110,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as a new theater, education spaces, restaurants, a shop, a covered multipurpose event space, and back-of-house functions.

The Peter Zumthor-designed building, which has an amorphous footprint, will use concrete as its primary finish - a material which is described on the museum's website as having "a sublime aesthetic character and beautiful sense of gravitas." Likewise, glass wraps the exterior of the upper gallery level, which the museum indicates will be used to display works such as sculptures, tiles, and ceramics which can be shown safely in natural light.

Bird's eye viewHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

Since its unveiling, now named in honor of DreamWorks founder and principal donor David Geffen has faced vocal criticism from many in architecture and preservation circles, both due to the controversial decision to raze its older buildings, as well as a smaller footprint compared to the buildings which it will replace.

The LACMA website acknowledges that the now-demolished buildings accounted for approximately 393,000 square feet of total space, as well as 120,000 square feet of gallery space - more than will be included in the construction. However, LACMA also contends that the reduction in size accounts for the relocation of functions not required to be within the museum itself, such as art storage and office space. Likewise, the website notes that the total gallery space in LACMA will have increased from approximately 130,000 square feet in 2007 to 220,000 square feet when the Geffen building is completed. However, future expansions would occur at off-site locations, such as a proposed South L.A. outpost and the Frank Gehry-designed SELA Cultural Center in South Gate.

Exterior view eastAtelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary

Completion of the David Geffen Galleries remains on place to occur in late 2024, according to the website.

LACMA's overhaul is one of the most visible signs of change on the Mid-Wilshire corridor, which has recently seen the completion of the $388-million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures at Wilshire and Fairfax Avenue, and may soon welcome a revamped a new master La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum under a new master plan from Weiss/Manfredi. Likewise, construction continues for the extension of Metro's D Line subway, which will have a stop at Wilshire and Fairfax.

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