Atelier Peter Zumthor/The Boundary


What is the budget for the building?

The budget for the building is $650 million and the building cost is on track with the budget. A rigorous cost estimating and cost management process has been followed throughout the project’s preconstruction phase to ensure it will be within budget.

How much of the funds raised are in cash?

Total cash collected will be $300 million by June 30, 2020, of which $175 million will be from private pledges. Pledges are legally binding and in previous LACMA campaigns have been delivered to LACMA in a timely manner. Non-profit organizations build capital projects based on pledges signed and do not tend to have all cash in hand before starting such projects.

Will the public have access to LACMA’s art collection during construction?

The permanent collection will continue to be on view at LACMA during construction in the Resnick Pavilion and BCAM in different exhibitions and also throughout the County of Los Angeles and the world on loans and traveling shows.

How much has LACMA raised for the campaign thus far?

LACMA has raised $640 million of the total campaign goal of $750 million, which is more than 85% with four years ahead to complete the balance.

Is there any debt to be issued for the new building for the permanent collection?

Yes. The private donations are generally paid over a period of time. Therefore, as part of the plan of finance approved by the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, there will be $300 million of debt issued by the County of Los Angeles to be fully paid for by Museum Associates (LACMA) from private donations.

Is the County of Los Angeles wasting $300 million on the new building?

No. The County is making a $125 million contribution and receiving a gift of $525 million for the new County building from private donations, which is a 4:1 match. Without the new building, the County would be facing a minimum of $246 million in basic repairs for the aging buildings.

Will LACMA sell art works to cover construction costs or pay debt?

No, that’s not an option. LACMA will never sell art to fund construction, operating, or other costs.

Who will pay for the new debt of $300 million?

LACMA will pay the $300 million in debt from private donations, as part of a financial plan that was developed with bankers, the Finance Committee of the board, and in consultation with the County.

Will LACMA incur cost overruns?

LACMA has carefully managed the cost of the new building, which is $650 million, including a substantial contingency. All buildings at LACMA have been built on budget.

Is LACMA open during construction?

Half of LACMA, which at 100,000 square feet is still the largest art museum in the western United States, will be open during construction, including the Resnick Pavilion, BCAM, and outdoor public spaces.

How is LACMA growing?

We are completing the 20-year plan to double the size of the Wilshire Boulevard museum galleries, from 110,000 square feet to 220,000 square feet of state-of-the-art galleries, and the new building is the last step.

What percentage of the new building, to be owned by the County, will be paid by the County?

The new building will be paid 80% by private donations and 20% by the County.

What part of the building project will be reviewed by the City of Los Angeles?

The City of Los Angeles will review the vacation of air rights for the portion of the building spanning Wilshire Boulevard and the new parking structure on Ogden.

Will the Ogden Parking Structure be approved by the City of Los Angeles?

Yes, the City of Los Angeles will review plans for the Ogden Parking Structure prior to its construction. The Ogden Lot is currently being used by Metro as a staging site for construction of the Purple Line, and therefore construction won’t take place until 2023.

Will the portion of the building crossing Wilshire Boulevard be safe for motorists and pedestrians?

Yes. LACMA has worked closely with engineering, traffic, and safety experts to ensure that the crossing of Wilshire Boulevard is safe and effective. The environmental impact review has shown that the crossing poses no hazards to motorists, traffic patterns, or pedestrians.

Will the portion of the building crossing Wilshire Boulevard be aesthetically pleasing?

Yes. The building will span Wilshire Boulevard ranging from approximately 19 feet to 23 feet above ground, and will feel airy, light, and beautiful. The architect, Peter Zumthor, has been working closely with structural engineers to create the most beautiful, safe, and effective building, including the portion that crosses the street.

Are there other projects that have crossed major streets in Los Angeles?

Yes. There have been many projects that cross major streets in Los Angeles, including hospitals, schools, office/retail facilities, and museum buildings. Some examples include Otium restaurant in downtown L.A., Children’s Hospital LA, California Plaza in downtown L.A., and the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Mall, the Lucas Museum, and the LA Convention Center.

What does the building project entail?

Demolition of four aging buildings—the Ahmanson, the Bing, the Hammer, and the Art of the Americas buildings—and the construction of one building to replace them, as well as the construction of a parking structure on Ogden Drive to replace the existing Spaulding parking lot.

Why is LACMA doing this building project?

The buildings to be demolished have many serious structural issues and problems with plumbing, sewage, and leaks, compromising their ability to hold our collections and host our visitors and staff. To retrofit the existing buildings would be very costly 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 buildings and improve the experience and functionality with a new museum building for the permanent collection. LACMA expanded its programs already in the last decade with the addition of approximately 100,000 sq. ft. on its West Campus when it opened the BCAM and Resnick Pavilion buildings.

What is the timeline of the proposed project?

As analyzed in the FEIR demolition and construction are expected to begin in early 2020 and be completed at the end of 2023.

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

The proposed new building will have a main exhibition gallery level that is elevated and supported by seven park-level, semi-transparent partially glass-enclosed “Pavilions,” which will seamlessly integrate the interiors with the surrounding park space. These Pavilions, which will include spaces for art display, retail and restaurants, a theater and public and education programs, will support the main gallery level of the building, opening up 3.5 acres of new public outdoor space (2.5 acres in Hancock Park and 1 acre in the Spaulding lot). The new building will occupy the space where the buildings to be demolished are located, will cross Wilshire Boulevard, and continue on the Spaulding Lot, which is currently used by Museum Associates for parking.

Is LACMA getting smaller?

Over the past decade, LACMA has been going through a comprehensive transformation of its campus. Since the beginning of this process, the plan has been to expand LACMA’s exhibition and public program spaces across two city blocks for better accessibility and provide much needed park and open space. Key milestones for expansion were achieved with the opening of BCAM (2008) and Resnick Pavilion (2010), which added approximately 100,000 square feet to the LACMA Campus.

With that expansion completed, the new Building for the Permanent Collection was always conceived to be a replacement of the four aging buildings (Ahmanson, Hammer, Art of the Americas, and Bing). During the process of advancing the design and cost management, the proposed building was slightly reduced in size to achieve a balance of quantity and quality of interior space, while upholding the design intent in a sustainable, seismically resilient manner. The design of the new building will allow LACMA to program more flexibly and dynamically, allowing the galleries to rotate more frequently and for more art to be displayed over time.

By the time the new building opens, we will have grown our total gallery space over the last decade from approximately 130,000 to 220,000 square feet across the entire LACMA Campus. In addition, we have expanded our program for public sculptures significantly, which is not reflected in the square footage above. We will also have opened up an additional 3.5 acres of park and public space. In summary, this project enables us to achieve our comprehensive goals for an expanded, accessible, and enhanced LACMA Campus.

What is the artistic or cultural benefit of the design?

The proposed building opens up access to art through its horizontal, transparent design and creates a fluid and transparent experience by uniting the LACMA campus with Hancock Park, the Natural History Museum (NHM) La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The design will create an intimate experience with art through its seven Pavilions and exhibition level, while embracing the breadth, depth, and diversity of a big museum that is easier to visit and understand. The new building celebrates cultures, opens up park space, and creates better engagement and encounters with art. The new building breaks down the historical "fortress" museum concept, opening up access to displays and creating a seamless and transparent relationship to Hancock Park and outdoor installations. The design reinforces an innovative approach to understanding art and culture. By contrast, the current design of the existing buildings creates a barrier between the street and the campus, and between visitors and their destination. The new design would engage and invite museum patrons to the site.

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

The County of Los Angeles is the primary authority (the Lead Agency) for review of the proposed project and environmental documents. The City of Los Angeles was a responsible agency and also participated in the environmental review. The City of Los Angeles will review portions of the proposed project within its jurisdiction, such as the Ogden Parking Structure and the vacation of air rights for the portion of the building spanning Wilshire Boulevard.

When was the FEIR published?

The FEIR was published on March 22, 2019.

How many opportunities will there be for public participation?

There have been opportunities for public participation at every step in the environmental review process. LACMA has met and continues to meet with neighbors and other stakeholders to provide information and solicit comments on the project. There was a public meeting on August 24, 2016 after the NOP was released. Then there was a public meeting on November 7, 2017 after the DEIR was released. The County considered all public comments on the Draft EIR (provided during the public comment period) and responded to those comments in the Final EIR. Finally, the County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the project at its public meeting on April 9, 2019. Subsequently, the City of Los Angeles will conduct public meetings to consider the approvals of the Ogden Parking Structure and the air space vacation of Wilshire Boulevard.

Who is financing this project?

The project is a public/private partnership and will be funded as follows: $125 million by the County of Los Angeles and $525 million by private philanthropy. The County will receive a 4 to 1 match as part of an unprecedented public/private partnership.

How much of the budget will come from private donations, and how long will it take to raise the funds?

More than 80% of the budget will come from private donations. Approximately $640 million has already been raised, including the County's $125 million contribution, and the museum's board of trustees and leadership are actively engaged in securing the remaining amount. This project represents one of the most significant public/private partnerships in Los Angeles, and will create a cultural landmark for public use.

Where will the new subway station be located?

The Wilshire/Fairfax Station for the Metro Purple Line Extension will be located on the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue across from LACMA’s West Campus and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The subway will provide a very important alternative means of transportation to the museum and the new station is scheduled to open in 2023.

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

Yes, all 260 parking spaces in the lot on Spaulding Avenue will be relocated to the new parking structure that will be built in the Ogden lot, owned by Museum Associates.

Have there been any design changes made to the project?

Yes. Several changes to the project design have been made as the design process has advanced and as a result of the environmental review, and discussions with neighbors and community groups. The fence on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard has been moved back from the sidewalk to create more publicly accessible outdoor space and allow the café with outdoor seating to activate the street. Outdoor art will be added to the Spaulding Lot, and all ground level pavilions have been reconfigured with more glass to create a greater sense of openness and connection with the surrounding park, sidewalks and street. In addition, the new building will be smaller than originally proposed and the maximum height of the buildings has also been reduced.

Will the new building be sustainable? What level of LEED certification will be achieved?

Green Building Council LogoLACMA is committed to achieving as high a level of sustainable design, construction, and operating principles as possible. The project will incorporate LEED features achieving Gold certification. Excavated earth and demolished materials will be recycled to the fullest extent possible, and landscaping will require minimum water and conform to the natural flora of the area. Water conservation measures in addition to drought-tolerant planting may include a variety of features such as the installation of dual plumbing in order to use reclaimed water for toilet flushing, self-closing faucets, and storm water retention through cisterns in which water would be filtered, treated, and recycled for use in toilets, urinals, irrigation, and cooling towers. The new building will replace older, much less efficient buildings that do not meet current sustainability standards, and waste scarce resources.

LA City Council Approves Wilshire Air Space Vacation
County Approves Building LACMA Project
LACMA's Bold Future - Design LA, Los Angeles Times
LA City Council Approves Wilshire Air Space Vacation
County Approves Building LACMA Project
LACMA's Bold Future - Design LA, Los Angeles Times
LA City Council Approves Wilshire Air Space Vacation
County Approves Building LACMA Project
LACMA's Bold Future - Design LA, Los Angeles Times