Peter Zumthor releases latest LACMA renderings after $150 million funding boost

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has produced an updated image set for his expansion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which recently received a major financial donation.

Zumthor’s latest LACMA renderings include an image of the full building snaking over Wilshire Boulevard and touching down at eight points either side of the busy highway.

More interior views of gallery spaces and visitor facilities have also been released, along with a sectional perspective cutting through one of the building’s eight “anchor” galleries – showing how the different levels, and external and internal circulation relate to one another

The visuals follow the announcement that the project has received a $150 million (£113 million) pledge from American business magnate and philanthropist David Geffen, which will go towards the expected $600 million (£452 million) construction cost.

The 37,000 square metres of new exhibition spaces will be named the David Geffen Galleries in honour of the donation – the largest single gift in the museum’s history.

Geffen is a major funder of the arts, and has previously donated substantially to the New York Philharmonic. The orchestra’s home at Lincoln Center – which carries his name – was due to be overhauled by Thomas Heatherwick, but the plans were scrapped last month.

The new LACMA images are the latest batch since April 2017, when a selection revealed that the architect has opted for light tones for the building’s exterior rather than the black shown in early images – a design feature that referenced to the nearby La Brea tar pits.

The building’s plan was drastically modified in 2014 to avoid damaging the pits, resulting the in bridge over the boulevard. Access to the museum will be possible from both sides of the road, but the majority of the galleries, shops and cafes will be located on the current site to the north.

Zumthor – who received the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2009 – revealed that he didn’t like the early renderings of the project, shortly after they were released in August 2016.

His design was first unveiled in 2013 using a series of model photos, after working on the project for five years.

Construction is due to commence in 2018, and will involve the demolition of four current LACMA buildings.

Zumthor is a cult favourite among architects, and is best known for projects like the Therme Vals spa in his native Switzerland – which he recently complained was being ruined by an “egotistical” developer – and the Steilneset Memorial in Norway.

Renderings are by Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner and The Boundary.

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