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LACMA Goldilocks: how big does the museum’s new building need to be?

Urban Lights display at the LACMA.
Urban Lights display at the LACMA.
Nicole Abalde/Flickr Creative Commons

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Tomorrow, the County Board of Supervisors will be voting on giving the Los Angeles County Museum of Art $117.5 million to create a new building on its Wilshire Boulevard campus.

The new building has been a project long in the making, with Swiss architect Peter Zumthor chosen to design the space nearly a decade ago. The new building will replace four of LACMA’s aging buildings, but the size of the new space is now the subject of some debate.

Last month, the project was downsized. LA Times art critic Christopher Knight criticized the choice, arguing that the new building won’t be large enough to house LACMA’s collections, as well as pointing to other issues with the design. LACMA director Michael Govan argued that the new building is big enough, especially when considering the museum’s satellite campuses.  

So what’s the right design and size for LACMA’s new space?


Christopher Knight, art critic for the Los Angeles Times, where his recent piece is “LACMA, the Incredible Shrinking Museum: A critic’s lament

Michael Govan, CEO and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)