The Curator Against the City by Paulette Singley
           
           
   
 
 
 
 
       
         
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entry by oma/rem koolhaas

“US museums: growing pleasures – or pains”
The Artnewspaper.com

Ms Rich [Director of LACMA] doubts that the project would involve the demolition of every existing structure on the campus: “Some would like to do that. I think it’s pretty unrealistic.” She feels no responsibility to bring a major work of architecture to Los Angeles.[1]

Thursday, December 6, 2001
“L.A. Art Museum Decides to Radically Reshape Itself”
The Los Angeles Times

Choosing between a tear-down and a fixer-upper, leaders of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art took the leap Wednesday. They unanimously approved a proposal by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to demolish most of the buildings at the Mid-Wilshire site and replace them with a vast structure that sits on columns and is topped by a tent-like roof.[2]

Dormant within the somewhat innocuous competition for the renovation and transformation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) remains the more volatile potential that Colin Rowe , architectural critic and general provocateur, once proffered about contemporary urbanism:

Scratch the surface of modern architecture’s matter of factness, simply for a moment doubt its ideals of objectivity, and almost invariably, subsumed beneath the veneers of rationalism, there is to be found that highly volcanic species of psychological lava, which, in the end, is the substratum of the modern city.[3]

Despite the aspirations of the 1997 disaster film Volcano, which depicts a flow of magma emerging from the La Brea Tar Pits, rather than lava bubbling up to the surface of the LACMA site is a sticky, tar-like liquid known as bitumen or “brea” that occupies subterranean zones out of which also emerges methane gas. Dave Perera of the LA Weekly recounts the import of this material:

High-pressure surges of methane, a flammable “natural gas” associated with oil fields, twice have shut down stretches of Third Street: once in 1985, after a gas explosion in a Ross Dress For Less store, and again in 1989, after a fountain of gas, water and mud burst through the ground in front of a nearby bank. Methane, says Fire Department Inspector Lloyd Fukuda, “blew out a whole plug of mud and continued to blow for quite a while.”[4]

entry by oma/rem koolhaas

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art sits in this neighborhood, bordered by Wilshire Boulevard, Sixth Street, Fairfax Avenue, and Curson Avenue, within an area that the city has designated a “High Potential Methane Zone.” Loosely applying Rowe’s logic to the competition might be to question the psychology of LACMA’s gelatinous substructure. Or, it might be to doubt the matter of factness of “modernity’s ideals of objectivity” and to find “subsumed beneath the veneer of rationalism” a highly viscous psychology of irrationalism. At LACMA, however, the city’s incendiary potential remains more above ground than below through a scenario in which the museum is anxious to demolish its existing buildings, leaving for an architect to accomplish what Los Angeles’s natural forces have not.

But then again, Rem Koolhaas is a force of nature. Insofar as he broke the competition rules and recommended that the museum demolish its core building complex, the decision to award the first prize to OMA provokes a certain amount of controversy. Until the office completes the transformation of its winning diagram into an articulate design proposal, the full extent of this controversy remains undetermined. But while Los Angeles waits to learn the scope of Rem Koolhaas’s revised scheme, the city’s urban history, the site’s architectural pedigree, and the alternative proposals submitted by Jean Nouvel, Steven Holl, Daniel Libeskind, and Thom Mayne of Morphosis, provide critical positions from which to assess the competition.

Los Angeles is simultaneously growing out, filling in, and disappearing. After approximately thirty years of vacancy in the heart of downtown, the dirt lots on Bunker Hill, rendered empty by reckless policies of urban renewal, finally are transforming into an architectural museum along Grand Avenue, now lined with significant new monuments designed by internationally acclaimed architects. Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Jos Rafael Moneo’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels approach completion, closing the gaps near Welton Becket and Associates’s 1964 Music Center and Arata Isozaki’s 1986 Museum of Contemporary Art.[5] Across town, in Brentwood, Richard Meier’s 1997 Getty Center dominates the hill above the Sepulveda Pass as a play of Corbusian forms encrusted with Italian travertine. And somewhat closer to downtown, at Exposition Park, the board of trustees of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announced in April of 2002 that David Chipperfield Architects, Foster and Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, Steven Holl Architects (once again), and Machado and Silvetti Associates are the finalists in an invited competition for the renovation of their 1913 Beaux Arts complex. About this latest news, The Los Angeles Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff writes:

The rest of the 410,000-square-foot complex will be demolished or significantly redesigned, including the 1960 Delacour Auditorium; a three-story, 46,000-square-foot addition built in the 1970s; and the entire south facade, which was part of a 1924-1930 addition that was never completed. “We want a more iconic architecture, something that will be a magnet to the Exposition Park area,” said [Jane] Pisano.”[6]

All of this building activity serves to climatize the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s announcement, made on 5 December 2001, that it had selected the architectural firm of OMA as the winning entry to expand and renovate its campus of buildings located along Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile. As with other cities seeking to augment their cultural legitimacy and cosmopolitan identity through a building program of large public institutions, Los Angeles is attempting to perform in the theater of international high design and concomitantly tapping into the potential financial returns from this era of museum urbanism. Given that the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine is a cruel joke to play on visitors to the city, Los Angeles is sorely in need of viable tourist attractions above and beyond Universal Studios and Venice Beach.

entry by oma/rem koolhaas

And while the donors, patrons, competition juries, and museum boards attempt to exercise the utmost prudence in their respective decision-making processes, one must wonder, particularly regarding the case of LACMA and LA’s reputation of Hollywood celebrity, if the city leaders are basing their decisions on the quality of the architecture as much as they are on a putative and quite outmoded notion of star architects. This is to posit that Los Angeles’s own cultural insecurity and willingness to perpetuate the myth that it lacks any significant urban history might form a blind spot to such glaring starlight. Where the 1960s demolition of a rich housing stock at Bunker Hill should serve as a cautionary tale to a city that purports to reinvent itself every five years, it serves rather as a paradigm.

Regarding the history of the more immediate site, the 17-mile-long stretch of street that forms Wilshire Boulevard, “one of Los Angeles’s grandest thoroughfares”, connects downtown Los Angeles with the Pacific Ocean. In 1921 A.W. Ross developed a section of the boulevard where the museum sits as the Miracle Mile. Significant to a city that grew up with the automobile, this “Fifth Avenue of the West” catered to vehicular transportation by providing entrances on the parking lot side of the buildings.[7] Leonard and Dale Pitt write that “by the 1960s the Miracle Mile was fading, losing its trade to more modern suburban shopping malls, and many of the notable architectural creations, variations of the Art Deco style – began to disappear.”[8]

It was in the middle of this decade of decline, in 1965, that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art first opened its doors to a set of buildings designed by the local architect William L. Pereira. As Ed Ruscha depicts it in his 1965-68 oil painting, The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire, the original Pereira design consisted of three structures – the Ahmanson, the Bing, and the Hammer – forming a courtyard that floated above a water plaza. Somewhat portentously, Ruscha painted the Ahmanson building in flames and portrayed the rest of the complex as if it had been severed from the urban context of Los Angeles. This canonical image of the County Museum, a white temple of corporate modernism floating in an urbanism of grand setbacks and flowing fountains, persisted until 1986 when the firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer added the Anderson Building to the center of the plaza. Shortly after the completion of this postmodern addition – replete with glazed terracotta moldings and glass block walls – arrived Bruce Goff’s posthumously constructed and typically idiosyncratic Japanese Pavilion. Finally, the museum purchased as an annex the former May Company department store, designed in 1940 by Albert C. Martin and S.A. Marx as a Streamline Moderne set piece that marks the intersection of Wilshire and Fairfax with a cylinder clad in gold mosaic tile. Notwithstanding the Goff pavilion, the architecture of the LACMA campus might merit little recognition for the quality of its architecture, but it does merit attention for its place in the city’s historical imagination. When OMA’s winning entry is complete Ed Ruscha’s painting will be the most significant artifact remaining of what many – especially Koolhaas and Ouroussoff – consider to be a collection of insignificant and mediocre buildings that nonetheless have attained over the years a patina of architectural respectability and an aura of public affection.[9]

OMA plans to maintain the Goff Pavilion, the May Company annex, and a museum parking structure while they propose razing the Ahmanson, the Bing, the Hammer and the Anderson buildings because “this configuration resists critical mass and inhibits the clarity of its collections.”[10] The office maintains that economic gain and curatorial clarity quite literally decided for them the direction their proposal would take. As OMA writes:

We discovered that a consolidated LACMA could perform more efficiently, expend less money on renovation, open up more of the park to the city and create a sense of coherence and the much-needed presence that this museum has lacked for decades. Any other approach would only exacerbate its problems. Our hands were tied.[11]

Were OMA’s hands similarly tied when in 1997 they suggested demolishing a section of New York’s MoMA?[12] In defense of their proposal, the office presented a taxonomy of three alternative formal strategies for additions that they handily dismissed as ultimately impracticable. These three alternative approaches to the competition are (1) “stealth projects” which attempt to “disguise the presence of yet another pavilion,” (2) “dispersed projects” that rely upon spreading “program throughout the site to better utilize the park,” and (3) “mega-buildings” which cloak “the existing order to create a unified whole.”[13]

And while it might be argued, at a diagrammatic level at least, that the other entrants indeed adopted one or more of these various typologies, in so doing they also demonstrated the inherent viability of such strategies to function as convincing alternate proposals rather than exacerbated problems. The office of Jean Nouvel Architects – which emerged as a close second to OMA – presented a megastructure that cloaks the existing buildings within the tectonic language of the additions. Nouvel proffers a new, seamless face for LACMA and consigns any more radical architectural moves to dramatic shapes that furtively appear at the roofline of his proposal. Daniel Libeskind designed an independent pavilion, but one that does not attempt to disguise its newness and instead complements the stylistic diversity and historical layers of the LACMA campus. Potentially exemplifying the “dispersed” typology, the Morphosis proposal insinuates itself into and around the existing buildings as a unifying form that functions both as stealth disguise and as a megastructure entwining the disparate pavilions with a connective tissue of woven bands. And finally, Steven Holl’s project, similar to OMA’s diagram of a hovering box, unifies the site under the canopy of a single edifice but does so by maintaining the existing buildings and proposing to demolish – as sanctioned by the competition guidelines – only the Ahmanson galleries.

entry by jean nouvel

Koolhaas presented a series of illustrative diagrams to the jury – emblematic of a kind of pseudo-research that recently has fascinated architecture schools throughout the United States – that served as the rationale driving OMA’s design proposal to demolish the “uninspired” existing museum buildings down to the basement level. OMA quite literally reified the organizational charts entitled Collection Timeline, Quantities + Media, Hard Costs bar charts, and other similar analyses into a full blown but perhaps equally “uninspired” design proposal. The remaining basement level of existing offices will serve as the Pompeiian Base for the existing street-level plaza now named the Miesian Court. A 55′ X 90′ column grid supports a second level Encyclopedic Plateau and a reticulated tensile canopy, constructed out of a Mylar membrane, that will cover this architectural stratigraphy. The exhibition spaces literally sit on a pedestal above the city while the main entrance to the complex addresses the existing parking structure.

Koolhaas argues somewhat paradoxically that “LACMA’s current proliferation across the site is a microcosm of Los Angeles: distributed rather than focused, it inhibits the full unfolding of its potential both as a museum and as a site.”[14] The paradox exists in Koolhaas’s willingness to develop LA’s sprawl into a metaphor for LACMA’s campus and an argument that demolishing this collection of buildings is the most effective means to densify the site. Moreover, as the competition boards indicate, OMA is not really interested in the city, with the firm presenting only one small context model as any indication that the proposal sits on an urban site in LA. Rather than the city, Koolhaas is preoccupied with transforming cost estimation and exhibition taxonomy into a new form of architecture. Koolhaas locates the entire museum collection on the Encyclopedic Plateau, with four parallel bands of exhibition space, separated by “utilitarian trenches,” providing display area for the five museum centers of Asian, American, European, Latin American, and Modern and Contemporary art. The bands function as linear expressions of the collection’s chronology and will be designed in ways that reflect the style of the art exhibited to the extent that LACMA becomes “a museum of exhibition typologies and techniques.”[15]

The strategy of this organization allows the visitor to either move through the collection in a strict historical sequence or to shuttle back and forth across the bands, thereby creating an arena for attaining fugitive and improvisational knowledge. Koolhaas offers the LACMA curators a generic, universal space to display their art and an argument that demolition is more cost effective than addition and renovation. He also offers a different kind of history lesson about the site, one in which the proposed Miesian Court recalls the fact that “Pereira’s scheme was commissioned as a compromise among the trustees, over the objections of then-director Richard Fargo Brown, who had championed a plan by Mies van der Rohe.”[16]

entry by steven holl

In contradistinction to OMA’s submission, Jean Nouvel’s competition entry subscribes to the prescriptions of orthodox urban design in which a definitive building edge holds the line along Wilshire Boulevard, off of which open a main entrance and a large public plaza. Nouvel also creates a second public space on the roof, now transformed into a garden of sculptural pavilions. He maintains each of the existing museum buildings, including the Ahmanson, but effectively opens up the interior atrium of its galleries into an exterior courtyard. That Nouvel offers normative, almost formulaic solutions to the site potential suggests a positive critique of his having developed a project in response to Los Angeles’s particularly fragile urban fabric.

And, in fact, the proposal’s skyline suggests a rather radical set of formal moves. At first glance, the model representing Nouvel’s design suggests that the architect casually displaced sundry objects from his desk drawer – a cigarette lighter, a tape dispenser, a box painted in Yves Klein blue, an ash tray, etc. – on to the roof plaza. At second look, however, the seemingly casual array of sculptural objects betrays the absolute calculation of Nouvel’s proposal, one in which the elevated garden plaza positions the museum against the cultural and physical geography of the city, replete with views of the Hollywood Hills and the downtown silhouette. The sculptural objects resting upon the sky plaza mark vertical circulation, enclose gallery spaces, or provide public amenities, while they also mimic the more immediate contexts of the May Company annex, echo the fanfare of signage along Wilshire Boulevard, or gesture to the grid shifts present in this portion of LA. Nouvel explains that he is creating a “neighborhood of museums” with “theoretical shapes” balancing upon the roof.[17] Like Koolhaas, Nouvel writes a metaphor of excavation into his LACMA proposal, one that positions the museum as reflecting the “petrification of a civilization” and an urbanity of “sedimentation.” Unlike Koolhaas, Nouvel plays by the competition rules, and in so doing posits a convincing archaeology of a city with layers accumulating one upon the other over time.

The office of Steven Holl Architects provides perhaps the most literal allusion to the LACMA context with a sculpted roof simulating the texture, color and animate form of the adjacent tar pits. Although this level is inaccessible to the public and must be witnessed from the elevated position of nearby towers, Holl mirrors the roof plane in a water garden he proposes at the rear of the museum – articulating and molding the existing backyard of archaeological pavilions into a plastic expression of the liquid substrate. The asphalt pour – to borrow a project title from Robert Smithson’s project outside of Rome – that comprises Holl’s roof functions as more than a formal device, it also operates as a thick interstitial zone allowing natural light to penetrate the interior. As Holl explains, the “gallery spaces are top-lit by light modulators whose twists transform direct sunlight into a soft diffused light. They form a geometric landscape on the roof.” In comparison with Holl’s attentiveness to the quality of light his museum provides and the significant architecture it takes to accomplish this task, OMA’s tensile and transparent roof instills less technological confidence in its ability to illuminate while simultaneously protect the valuable artworks it covers. In response to this question, OMA proposes that the Mylar roof will be comprised of air-filled panels with flaps that will modulate the quality and quantity of light entering the exhibition spaces.

Holl intends for his museum addition to engage the city as a “social condenser for greater LA,” one that contains a large public walkway or canyon that connects Wilshire with 6th Street and is “intended to be free and open 24 hours daily” as it “beckons the public from multiple directions and links.” Holl’s pedestrian canyon provides more than a tangible contribution to the production of public place in Los Angeles; it also provides a poetic space from which to observe the bituminous roof canopy as if from a submerged realm of shadows and subterranean desires.

The only Los Angeles office to have submitted an entry to the LACMA competition necessarily derived its design from the specificity of the urban fabric, building a site model that spans the entire Miracle Mile. Morphosis proposes the formal maneuver of an urban weave or cross-stitch that maintains the existing buildings by linking them together with long, curvilinear bands of new architecture.[18] As Mayne explains, “The museum spills into the city while the city channels into the museum.” Mayne follows the lead suggested by the competition brief and proposes demolishing the Ahmanson galleries and the existing parking structure along Ogden Drive while preserving the balance of the existing structures. Mayne “strove to adjudicate between the notion of the museum as a neutral, anonymous ‘sacred’ space where architecture is all but invisible and that of the museum as a theme park or shopping mall with what is often perceived as a sensory overload.” In so doing he attempts to dissolve “the physical boundaries of the institution.”

entry by morphosis/thom mayne

The interwoven bands, or connective tissue, of linear space reach out from the interior of the site and gesture to the urban fabric of the greater Los Angeles area. A lobby bridge protrudes out over the sidewalk and hovers above Wilshire as a cantilevered gateway that derives its form and orientation from Ogden Drive. Morphosis reiterates the angle this street makes on the south side of Wilshire in the bar that extends across the site to Sixth Street. Morphosis’s proposal explicitly sites and re-sites the museum within the context of a city that, according to Mayne, is “marked by contradiction, conflict, change, and dynamism.” This project not only addresses and redefines the urban form of Los Angeles, it also acknowledges the role of the county art museum as an institution that should belong to everyone in the city. By eroding the institution’s physical boundaries the architect reinforces the public’s accessibility.

As precedented by his design for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Daniel Libeskind does not disappoint any expectation that his LACMA proposal will derive from the formal manipulation of an abstract shape. For LACMA he explores a triangular scribble based upon a compositional analysis of Leonardo da Vinci’s 1508 oil painting, Virgin of the Rocks, that just so happens to hang, not in Los Angeles’s County Museum, but instead, in London’s National Gallery. Libeskind transforms the compositional organization of Leonardo’s painting into a formal strategy for his museum addition: the semi-circular shape created in the space described by the Virgin, the angel, the infant Saint John, and the infant Christ allows him to orchestrate a series of architectural moves that both define and violate the perfection of a new circular plaza. This plaza, or Teatro del Mund” as Libeskind calls it, slopes in section from three stories down to the ground plane across the diameter of the circle. To Libeskind, the Teatro del Mundo acts as a “giant pulsating heart” for the city. According to the model, Libeskind’s new building consists of a series of interlocking geometries through which he slices a large glass atrium. According to the plan, he demolishes the Ahmanson and replaces it with two new buildings. He connects the new structure to the remaining LACMA buildings to the east with a circulation corridor he refers to as the art walk, a path that also penetrates the former May Company building with a violent angular cut. Libeskind provides the museum with a different version of the weaving analogy developed in the Morphosis project by stating that he is “connecting tissue” and “literally stitching the campus together.”

Competition Brief

A full apprehension of the decision regarding the prizewinner of the LACMA competition requires a little background information about the museum’s aspirations and certain substantive curatorial shifts. At one level the existing LACMA complex is an architectural success, blending the urban necessity of public space – almost nonexistent in LA – with the populist requirements of public education into a campus of buildings that are open and symbolically accessible to LA’s highly diverse public. At another level the museum is a failure, a barely competitive collective in a world class art market displayed in dark, warren-like galleries. In response to these concerns, the museum’s current director, Andrea Rich, initiated a program to expand LACMA’s reputation and influence by radically restructuring its curatorial departments into centers for American, Asian, European, Latin American, and Modern and Contemporary art. Soon after this effort was complete she solicited Lord and Associates to analyze the museum’s needs and then asked Richard Koshalek, president and CEO of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, to organize the competition.[19] Each of the five architects selected to submit entries received $200,000 to complete a proposal for a $200 million design.

Richard Koshalek, Neil M. Denari (former director of SCI-Arc), Sylvia Lavin (chairwoman of UCLA’s Department of Architecture), and Andrea Rich’s cabinet of staff advisors evaluated the designs and reported to the competition committee. Initially a tie formed between Koolhaas and Nouvel but after the two architects were asked to return to L.A., OMA, as we know, prevailed in securing the commission. Apparently the museum board and competition committee were swayed by the mathematics of Davis Langdon Adamson, the cost estimator for both projects, who reported that OMA’s proposal would cost about $43 million less than Nouvel’s. But more important than the cost differential, a somewhat narrow method for evaluating design excellence, it was the new LACMA organization, made visually manifest in Koolhaas’s proposal, that influenced the decision to the extent that the director begins to take credit for OMA’s solution:

“If we hadn’t done a really intensive reshaping of the internal organization around our collections and the physical planning around that,” she says, “Koolhaas couldn’t have come up with that design.” And LACMA wouldn’t have agreed to it.[20]

While critics might express a general dismay at the predictability of the entrants’ offering design proposals that represent their own signature style, such criticism lacks substance given that these architects were selected to compete precisely because of their signature styles. That the winner shocked anyone with its supposed radicality is what puzzles us here. Where each of the five projects has merit and would serve the museum’s needs, what seems to be the decisive difference between the winning entry and the four other competitors is the former’s focus on meeting the economic and curatorial demands of the museum and the latter’s interest in solving these problems while simultaneously creating a museum that addresses the unspoken pressures of the city. Unlike its private counterpart the Getty Center, sectioned off from the city in the hills above Brentwood, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a highly public and entirely urban institution. Ultimately, when faced with the opportunity to select Nouvel’s sky-terrace, Libeskind’s art plaza, Holl’s public canyon, or Mayne’s gateway, the museum board and its advisors preferred instead to award the prize to the blood simple display of their “encyclopedic” collection in an anonymous wrapper and to approve the demolition of a group of existing buildings they apparently have come to despise. That museum curators engage in a highly ambivalent relationship with architecture should come as no surprise, such are the desires of professionals whose primary goal is to emphasize what is on the walls rather than the walls themselves. That the museum board seems to have been waiting for permission to demolish a group of dysfunctional galleries and support spaces, too, does not surprise. What does surprise is Koolhaas’s having convinced them that a rather straightforward Miesian approach to museum design is somehow daring, bold, and even avant-garde. And the museum’s willingness to forfeit its own architectural endowment for the utopia of a tabula rasa and the delirium of universal space certainly disappoints. If the museum curators, at this point in the game at least, clearly have indicated in their selection of a competition winner that they are not really interested in making urban space, they also have made the case that they are not really interested in making architecture.

entry by daniel libeskind

[1] David D’Arcy “US museums: growing pleasures–or pains,” The Artnewspaper.com (October 1, 2001);http://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/article.asp?idart=7533.
Thanks to Vik Liptak, Assistant Chair of Woodbury University, for reading and correcting this essay.
[2] Suzanne Muchnic “L.A. Art Museum Decides to Radically Reshape Itself” The Los Angeles Times (December 6, 2001).
[3] Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter Collage City (Cambridge, MA: MIT press, 1975) p. 11.
[4] Dave Perera “Fresh Produce and Streets of Fire Making sense of the methane explosion in Fairfax ” LA Weekly (May 4 – 10, 2001).

[5] On the architecture along grand avenue see Joe Day’s review of “What’s Shakin’: New Architecture in LA” title “MEIERED: MoCA’s recent exhibition “What’s Shakin’: New Architecture in LA,” on the LA Forum’s website:

[6] Nicolai Ouroussoff “Museum Considers 5 Design Firms Leaders of the natural history institution in Exposition Park plan a renovation of up to $300 million” The Los Angeles Times (April 2, 2002).
[7] Leonard Pitt and Dale Pitt Los Angeles A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the City and County (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997) p. 328.
[8] Pitt and Pitt, 551. Qalsosee suissmann
[9] Ouroussoff writes: “The failure of some of the world’s most notable architectural talents to come up with a compelling scheme that would save the old campus only makes Koolhaas’ point stronger: The old LACMA is not worth saving. LACMA can now move on, comfortable with its choice.” In “Conceptual, but Already More” the Los Angeles Times (December 7, 2001)
[10] From an unpublished handout OMA submitted to the museum board, unpaginated.
[11] Architect’s handout.
[12] Ouroussoff writes: “Koolhaas is known for his radical, conceptual designs. In a 1997 scheme for New York’s Museum of Modern Art, he proposed demolishing MOMA’s ground floor. Its famous sculpture garden was sunk below ground level, and a sleek new tower–MOMA Inc.–was implanted on top of Philip Johnson’s 1964 addition to the 53rd Street building. The design, which was intended as a critique of art and commerce, was rejected outright.” In”Conceptual, but Already More.”
[13] Architect’s handout.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Suzanne Muchnic and Lynn Smith “LACMA Raze Met With Praise”The Los Angeles Times (December 10, 2001);

[17] Quotation taken from panels on display at LACMA’s exhibition of the five competition entries and written by museum curator Carol S. Eliel. Unless otherwise noted, all other quotations are taken from these panels.
[18] David D’Arcy reported that Los Angeles based architect, Frank Gehry, was “not in the running for the job. The museum organized a competition scheduled for the week of the New York bombings (now postponed), and Gehry refused to compete against other architects. “We would have liked him to participate,” said Eli Broad, the collector and LACMA trustee (see p.35). In The Art Newspaper.com “US museums: growing pleasures–or pains American museums in the process of expanding explain why and how they expect the recession to affect their projects.”

[19] Muchnic, “L.A. Art Museum Decides to Radically Reshape Itself.”
[20] Muchnic “Under the Big Top: How the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and director Andrea Rich arrived at their surprising plan for a striking new design” The Los Angeles Times (March 3, 2002); http://www.calendarlive.com/top/1,1419,L-LATimes-Art-X!ArticleDetail-52478,00.html.