FAQS

What does the building project entail?

The project entails the demolition of four buildings on the LACMA East Campus (Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, and Hammer buildings, as well as the Leo S. Bing Center), the construction of a new building that would extend over Wilshire Boulevard to the Spaulding Lot at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Spaulding Avenue, and the construction of a parking structure on Ogden Drive to relocate the parking spaces on the Spaulding Lot.

Why is LACMA doing this building project?

The buildings to be demolished have many serious structural problems, compromising their ability to hold our collections and host our visitors and staff. To retrofit the existing buildings would be nearly as costly as constructing the proposed new building, while still failing to provide the setting most appropriate for the collections and visitors. Museums change over time to accommodate cultural shifts in our relationship to the arts, and the aging buildings no longer reflect the best and most effective way to exhibit the museum's collections.

Is LACMA's project goal to expand its programs?

No. The goal is to replace the four aging buildings (Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, and Hammer buildings, as well as the Leo S. Bing Center) and improve the functionality of the museum building for the permanent collection.

What is the timeline of the proposed project?

Demolition is expected to start in the second half of 2018, when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens, and the new building is expected to open in 2023, at the same time the Metro Purple Line station opens.

How would you describe the design for the proposed new building?

The proposed new building, which is being designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor, will have a main gallery level 20–30 feet above ground, supported by eight park-level, partially transparent “pavilions,” which will integrate the interiors with the surrounding park space. These pavilions, which will include spaces for art display, retail and restaurant, and theater and public programs, will elevate the main gallery level of the building, opening up 2.5 acres of new public outdoor space. The new building will have a maximum height of approximately 75 feet. The horizontal design will occupy the space where the buildings to be demolished are located, will cross Wilshire Boulevard, and continue onto the Spaulding lot, which is currently used by LACMA for parking. The existing parking spots will be relocated to the new parking structure on Ogden Drive.

How big is the new building?

The new building will be approximately 368,000 square feet. It will replace buildings totaling approximately 393,000 square feet for an overall reduction of approximately 25,000 square feet and a reduction in the theater size from 600 seats to 300 seats.

How high, how wide, and how long is the portion of the building that crosses over Wilshire?

The proposed museum building would have a maximum height of approximately 75 feet. The main galleries would be located between two planes elevated approximately 30 feet above ground level, and the portion that spans Wilshire Boulevard would be approximately 20 feet above the street. Wilshire Boulevard is approximately 100 feet wide at that point.

What is the artistic or cultural benefit of the design?

The new building opens up access to art through its horizontal, transparent design and creates a fluid and integrated experience by uniting the LACMA campus with the surrounding park space, NHM La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The design will create an intimate experience with art through its eight pavilions, while embracing the breadth, depth, and diversity of LACMA’s many collections. The new building opens up public outdoor space while providing an enhanced experience with art by breaking down the historic “fortress” museum concept. In contrast, the current building configuration creates a barrier between the street and the campus and between visitors and their destination, is not easy to navigate, and is not smoothly integrated into the surrounding park and the rest of the LACMA campus.

Who will review and approve the proposed project, the County or the City?

The County of Los Angeles will be the primary authority (the Lead Agency) for review and approval of the proposed project and environmental documents. The City of Los Angeles will participate in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as a Responsible Agency and consider approvals for portions of the proposed project within its jurisdiction (the Ogden parking structure and the elevated part of the new building that crosses Wilshire Boulevard).

Will LACMA do an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to evaluate and address potential project impacts?

Yes. A comprehensive EIR is being prepared to carefully assess any potential environmental impacts, and this document will be available for public review and comment. It will include analyses of potential impacts related to traffic, historical resources, methane, archeology/paleontology, utilities, water, and geotechnical issues, among others.

Will there be opportunities for public comment and participation?

LACMA will be hosting several opportunities for public participation throughout the entire process. We will continue to meet with neighborhood stakeholders to provide information and solicit comments on the project, and the County and City will conduct several public hearings for the same purpose once the formal review process begins. The first public meeting will be a public Scoping Meeting at LACMA, on Wednesday, August 24, from 6 to 8 pm to hear from the public about particular issues they would like to be analyzed in the EIR.

What will be the environmental impacts of the project?

The County is just beginning the environmental impact analysis so conclusions are unknown at this time. We will be updating the website periodically and all the draft impact conclusions will be available for public review and comment in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

How will the project be funded?

The project will be funded with approximately 80% private donations raised by Museum Associates, the nonprofit public benefit corporation that manages, operates, and maintains LACMA, and approximately 20% by the County of Los Angeles, which will own the building.

What is the total cost of the proposed project?

The proposed project is estimated to cost $600 million plus contingencies.

Where will the new subway station be located?

The new station for the Metro Purple Line subway (Wilshire/Fairfax Station) is scheduled to open in 2023 and will be located directly across from LACMA, on the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue. The subway will provide a very important alternative means of transportation to the museum.

Will the parking spaces in the lot on Spaulding Avenue be relocated?

Yes, the parking spaces in the lot on Spaulding Avenue will be relocated to a new parking structure on Ogden Drive, just south of Wilshire Boulevard.

Notice of Preparation (NOP)—August 4, 2016
Public Scoping Meeting—August 24, 2016
Notice of Preparation (NOP)—August 4, 2016
Public Scoping Meeting—August 24, 2016
Notice of Preparation (NOP)—August 4, 2016
Public Scoping Meeting—August 24, 2016

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