It was big news when Peter Zumthor, Hon. FAIA, was picked to design the new iteration of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and even bigger news that the world-renowned architect's design was a large, interesting, amorphous, captivating, amoeba-like ink spot. At the time of the announcement, Carolina Miranda wrote for us that the design was "the ultimate architectural Rorschach test."
And now the test has changed. The new design is a response to LACMA's neighbors, the Page Museum, who complained that the new museum would have encroached too much on some of the Tar Pits—still active paleontological sites—and would have cast a shadow and disrupted the ecosystem around them.
So Zumthor moved the blob away from the pits, but to make up for the lost square footage, it now crosses over Wilshire Avenue. Where it had once been contained to the campus city block, it now spans the roadway and extends to what is currently a parking lot. A bold decision, says Los Angeles Times architecture critic and ARCHITECT contributor Christopher Hawthorne, but one in which "the new location will change the character of the building in ways that Zumthor has only begun to grapple with." (Last fall, Hawthorne detailed the earlier design as well as the long path that it took Zumthor and LACMA director Michael Govan, who had worked together in the past, to get there.)
If Hawthorne's reservations are correct, then we could see more iterations and morphing of the design in the site to come. But whether it ends up being constrained to the campus or reaching its tendrils out to the next block, the future museum is certainly fascinating.