Peter Zumthor discusses where things stand with LACMA

LACMA broke ground on its new Geffen wing in 2020, and after delays caused by concerns that the original foundation might not be adequate for the problematic, tar-filled ground of the site, and resultant plan changes that brought part of the building across Wilshire Boulevard, the building can now be seen rising above the construction fencing. But although the building itself may be completed in something over a year from now, further preparation and installation mean a public opening is not likely until 2026. 

The necessary structural redesign has resulted in an overall simplification of the original design, meaning a loss of much of the character associated with the lead architect, Peter Zumthor. The original ink-black finish has been replaced by gray, unpigmented concrete, and much, if not most, of the precise detailing associated with Zumthor’s work has been cut back. The architect has been reported as saying, “There are no Zumthor details any more.”

 Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne interviewed Zumthor at his studio in Haldenstein, Switzerland in late summer, and filed this report in the New York Times on October 4, 2023.

The photograph shows construction spanning Wilshire Boulevard. It was taken on October 26, 2023