A New Petition Calls on Los Angeles’s Board of Supervisors to Reconsider LACMA’s Controversial Redesign

The letter urges the city to halt the project and engage in an open discussion with the community.

Rendering. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary. Courtesy of Building LACMA.

Last month, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the construction of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s new $650 million building. But the project has also received considerable push back from members of the community and, now, a new petition circulating online is urging the museum to reconsider its plans.

The petition, launched on the site Change.org by a group called the LACMA Lovers League, says that “the Supervisors failed to take into account the many serious concerns raised by critics and members of the public. We respectfully ask them to reconsider their vote, to pause their FEIR approval and engage in the free and open discussion with the community that such an important decision deserves.”

Created two days ago, the petition has 146 signatories as of right now. The museum did not immediately respond to artnet News’s request for comment.

LACMA rendering by Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary. Courtesy of Building LACMA.

LACMA rendering by Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner / The Boundary. Courtesy of Building LACMA.

The board of supervisors’ decision came just 13 business days after the release of the final environmental impact report for the ambitious redevelopment project, which detailed the latest design by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Initially designed as an inkblot-like structure with a black canopy upon its first unveiling in 2013, Zumthor’s building since undergone a number of changes. The version approved in April resembles something from the Jetsons: a long, low concrete-and-glass structure with 109,900 square feet of exhibition space overlooking Wilshire Boulevard.

The new design was met with public criticism as soon as it was revealed, with most objecting to the fact that four of the museum’s current William L. Pereira-designed buildings will be razed to erect Zumthor’s new structure. Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight excoriated the proposed building’s reliance on concrete, saying the “new LACMA just makes an Instagrammable spectacle of the conspicuous consumption inside.” Antonio Pacheco, an editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, called it an “affront to LA’s architectural and cultural heritage.”

Approving the redesign, the board of supervisors “ignored serious recent criticism published by the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Curbed LA, Architectural Record, The Art Newspaper, and The Architect’s Newspaper, and hundreds of public comments running 83 percent against the project,” the petition claims.

The new LACMA is currently slated to open in early 2024. 

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