In writing about museums for my book (now designed, index done, just awaiting the final version of the text), I got very interested in the issues and controversy surrounding Peter Zumthor’s designs for the new LACMA. This morning I read the long piece about it in the current New Yorker, too late for my bibliography:- (

I have realised from the commentary that the critics felt that the article corroborated their hostile views, maybe because of Zumthor’s final dismissive comment about not worrying about the cost. I didn’t read it like that at all. I felt it helped to explain and interpret why Michael Govan had chosen Zumthor when he moved to LACMA in 2006 and was a reminder that there were already plans in place to demolish the Pereira buildings, which may now be regarded as a period piece, but would have been incredibly expensive to refit and were never completely satisfactory (Rick Brown the Director had wanted Mies van der Rohe to design it and left to go to the Kimbell where he was able to employ Louis Kahn). It was also a reminder that Zumthor is a great architect. It may be a high risk strategy, but it is a bit too late to lament the loss of the Pereira buildings now they have been pulled down.


3 thoughts on “LACMA

  1. marinavaizey says:

    Thanks so much a fascinating piece also because it casts light on how American museums work with Boards, politicians, raise money etc….only to say I was lucky enough to see Zumthor’s Kolumba museum in Cologne, (in May 2019) and it is a marvel: exhilarating and euphoric, meditative yet full of energy. I sound I know OTT, but…….’tis true.

  2. marinavaizey says:

    That is very fine, too: subservient to the art and on an important site, just one street away from the lake if I remember correctly. So here is hoping….

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