Ideas for a Better LACMA
Designers assumed the Ahmanson Building, Hammer Building, Arts of the Americas Building and Bing Center were lost. Three proposals were chosen as Leading Designs in this category.
Unified Campus
Design by Paul Murdoch Architects, Los Angeles 
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Design by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vienna

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Design by TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), Hong Kong.

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"Unified Campus" by Paul Murdoch Architects

To create greater institutional cohesion, Paul Murdoch Architects took a holistic approach to the entire LACMA campus and its relationship to the cultural institutions flanking it. The design, according to the architects, is “expressive of LA in its openness, multiplicity of urban, natural, and cultural connections, and abundant use of controlled natural light.” The jury noted how this horizontal skyscraperan on-axis version of the neighboring tower across Wilshirecorresponds to the urbanism of the area. “It restores the continuity of the Wilshire Boulevard streetfront with a respectful attitude by placing the narrow part of the building facing the street and the broad side framing the park.” The east glass façade offers a strong, complementary visual connection to Hancock Park and the La Brea Tar Pits, and the west façade forms a long public plaza bordered by BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion, uniting the two campuses.

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Paul Murdoch Architects, founded in Los Angeles in 1991, is headed by Paul and Milena Murdoch. In 2005, the firm won the Flight 93 National Memorial competition. The firm’s work in Southern California includes UCLA’s Plant Growth Center, L.A. City’s Central Avenue Constituent Services Center, and the upcoming zero-net-energy gymnasium at the Boyle Heights Sports Center, as well as modernizations for the American Jewish University.

LACMA not LackMA Project Team: Paul Murdoch, Milena Murdoch, Albert Orozco, Ben Hidalgo, Eric Cunningham, Chris Varela

"LACMA Wing" by Coop Himmelb(l)au

Emphasizing “an architecture that combines functionality with aspiration,” Coop Himmelb(l)au designed three main elements: landscape plinth and two, three-level “floating” gallery wings. Public circulation on ramps connecting the volumes would be encased by expressive amorphous forms whose openness to the outside refreshes the museum visiting experience. These public spaces are accessible without a ticket to the museum, but windows into the galleries are meant to entice people inside. The jury appreciated the curatorial flexibility of generous gallery spaces, with 22-foot floor-to-ceiling heights, the possibility of mezzanines and intimate galleries, and open floor plates. “This entry combines issues of great efficiency with moments of drama,” noted the jury. “The ‘bubbles’ offer exciting spaces that celebrate the public realm while connecting to straightforward, practical, functional galleries in the wings.” 

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Coop Himmelb(l)au was founded by Wolf D. Prix, Hon. FAIA, Helmut Swiczinsky, and Michael Holzer in Vienna, Austria in 1968. Known in Los Angeles for the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, the Vienna-based firm, now headed by Prix, are practitioners of radical, “expressive architecture.” Work includes the contemporary art pavilion at the Museum of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Gasometer, an industrial building converted into a housing complex in Vienna, and the multi-functional BMW Welt building in Munich. 

"HILLACMA" by TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic)

TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic) considers Los Angeles’ diversity when proposing the museum as “a new cultural platform that connects people from different walks of life,” by simultaeneously offering enclosed cultural spaces and an open, sculpted, outdoor landscape. The tall building (five levels plus garden roof) combines an undulating façade along Wilshire Boulevard to the south with “hill” element sloping into the park on the property’s north side. The jury remarked that the dramatic hybrid design would make it a “destination building” cleverly designed to sustain the urbanity of Wilshire on one side while extending the bucolic nature of the park on the other. “The Wilshire façade becomes a kinetic wall, imparting a strong urban experience that changes as you drive by, which is how most Angelenos experience the city,” noted the jury.” “The back façade, a built hillside, is a landscape event that adds a surprising new participatory dimension to Hancock Park. This will be a hill you want to climb.” 

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TheeAe (The Evolved Architectural Eclectic), founded by architect Chris Woohyun Cho, began in Hong Kong in 2011 and expanded into New York in 2019. The firm’s projects span much of the far east and Asia, including the Gwangju Library in Gwangju, South Korea, Mumbai Airport in India, and hotels from Vietnam to Mongolia.