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18/01 2011

Light: central element of Renzo Piano’s project

L’architetto fa il mestiere più bello del mondo perché su un piccolo pianeta dove tutto é già stato scoperto, progettare è ancora una delle più grandi avventure possibili.” Renzo Piano

© Nic Lehoux

Renzo Piano is one of the most known architects of the world and has received numerous acknowledgments. Among the numerous prizes obtained, the Prize Pritzker 1998, considered the more prestigious prize in the architectonic field.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the preeminent encyclopedic art museum in the western United States, with a vast permanent collection of more than 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present day. Since 2008, the museum has added to its permanent holdings more than twenty works by Picasso.

PROJECT: The Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, a free-standing, single-story building, is located directly north of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) and atop the Pritzker Parking Garage, both built in Phase I of LACMA’s Transformation. With a sprawling open floor plan, concrete floor, and saw-tooth roof with vertical glazing, the Renzo Piano-designed structure is the largest purpose-built, naturally lit open-plan museum space in the world.

© Nic Lehoux

The building is named in honor of LACMA Trustee and long-time patrons Lynda and Stewart Resnick, whose $45 million dollar donation was the lead gift in Phase II of the Transformation. The Resnicks have also promised works of art valued at $10 million as a future donation to LACMA’s permanent collection.

The exterior of the Resnick Pavilion is made of pale travertine marble that originates from the same quarry as the marble used on BCAM’s facade and features large windows within the saw-tooth roof that flood the gallery with northern light. The vibrant “Renzo Red” motif established in Phase I (e.g., BCAM’s exterior escalator, the BP Grand Entrance, and the Kendall Concourse) is continued via the mechanical systems and technical rooms on the exterior of the Resnick Pavilion. This allows 85 percent of the gross footprint to be utilized for the presentation of art. The interior gallery is notable not only for its remarkable volume and quality of light, but for its flexibility that allows for the presentation of multiple exhibitions at once as well as large-scale works of art.
Just as the building absorbs light during the day, the Resnick Pavilion will become a stunning illumination at night. The ceiling and northern and southern glass-clad walls allow for a glow from within that can easily be seen while driving by on 6th street.

© Nic Lehoux

© Warren Air Video & Photography Inc.

PROJECT TEAM: Design Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Landscape Artist: Robert Irwin
Executive Architect: Gensler
Landscape Architect: LRM Landscape Architects
Landscape Consultant: Comstock Studio
Contractor: Matt Construction
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Structural and Mechanical Engineer: Arup North America, LTD
Lighting Designer: Ove Arup–London
HVAC: ACCO Engineered Systems
Security and Control Systems: Johnson Controls
Low Voltage Wiring: Hruska Communications
Electrical: Dynalectric
Roofing Systems: CMF Custom Metal Fabricators
Glass Systems: Walters and Wolf
Drywall: Anning-Johnson Company
Stone: Carnevale & Lohr
Exhibition Design: Pier Luigi Pizzi
Michael Heizer
Owner’s Representative: Aurora Development
Davis Langdon (cost consultant)
Design team: A.Chaaya (partner in charge), A.Gallissian (associate), with J.Loman, A.McClure, J.B.Mothes, M.Pimmel and N.Delevaux, T.Gantner, D.Graignic-Ramiro A.Knapp, B.Malbaux,; O.Aubert, C.Colson, Y.Kyrkos (models)


Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography-and represent Los Angeles’s uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a contemporary museum on its campus. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing Transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection.


The second phase of LACMA’s Transformation builds upon the unification of the museum’s campus with the addition of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, a flexible, naturally lit structure dedicated to the presentation of art. When combined with the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), which was completed during Phase I, LACMA has added nearly 100,000 square feet of gallery space since 2008. Outdoor artist projects, a keystone of the Transformation initiated in Phase I, continue to play an integral role in Phase II with the addition of Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass 2006–2009 as well as the extension of Robert Irwin’s Palm Garden, begun in 2008. Additionally, the BP Grand Entrance will evolve to incorporate a glass-walled restaurant designed by Renzo Piano.

Phase II Includes:
The rehabilitation of the surrounding park, as part of the Kelly and Robert Day Gardens, which include the expansion of Robert Irwin’s grid of palm trees to the areas around the Resnick Pavilion and other buildings on LACMA’s campus.

The reconfiguration of space in the BP Grand Entrance, including a new restaurant designed by Renzo Piano and a centralized ticketing area. Both will be sited along the eastern side of the Grand Entrance in a glass and steel structure. Restaurant is scheduled to open January 2011.

Future plans for Phase II also include the renovation of LACMA West (the 300,000-square-foot former May Company building) and the addition of artists’ projects such as James Turrell’s Missed Approach and Boullée’s Boule, both slated for LACMA West, and Jeff Koons’s Train. The latter, a seventy-foot replica of a 1940s locomotive to be suspended from a 161-foot-tall crane, would dangle over the north piazza adjacent to the BP Grand Entrance, releasing steam, rotating wheels, and chugging three times a day. Feasibility studies for the project, made possible by the Annenberg Foundation, are nearing completion.



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