Los Angeles County Museum of Art
by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren © OMA
Project:Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Status:Competition 2001 (1st prize); Pre-schematic Design 2002
Client:Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Location:Los Angeles, California, USA
Site:Hancock Park, site of existing museum
Program:Plinth, Service & Support 16,296 m2, Plaza, Public Facilities & Temporary Galleries 18,578m2, Study Centre 1,672m2, Exhibition Plateau Permanent Collections 21,218m2</dd></dl></div>
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) complex is reconceived as a system of horizontal layers, with exhibition spaces stacked above an open-air plaza. Once, all continents were joined a single whole…then they drifted apart. The design proposes to undo LACMA’s “continental” separation of their vast collection of world artifacts, and imagines an almost Utopian condition where the history of the arts can be told as a single and simultaneous narrative showing moments of chronological coincidence, autonomy, influence, and convergence.
LACMA’s current proliferation across its site is a microcosm of Los Angeles – distributed and dispersed, rather than focused – and inhibits the full revelation of its potential as a museum and as a site. The proposal consolidates the collections into a whole instead of a series of pavilions. It focuses spending on the reinvention of LACMA’s image rather than the renovation of existing buildings. It creates the opportunity for multiple paths, diverse interpretations and cross-cultural exhibitions within a single entity. A consolidated LACMA can perform more efficiently, expend less money on renovation, open more of the park to the city, and create a sense of coherence and much-needed presence that this museum has lacked for decades – rejuvenation through reconnection.