Petersen Museum Wins Design Award

Petersen Museum won American Architecture Award
Petersen Museum won American Architecture Award (photo from the Chicago Athenaeum website)

The Petersen Museum won an American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design for its exterior and interior redesign, completed in 2015.  The result has actually made it one of the more controversial buildings in LA, but also dramatically sets the museum apart from its brethren on Miracle Mile’s Museum Row.

According to the project description by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design:

Located on “Museum Row” of the famed “Miracle Mile”, the new Petersen Museum, which showcases the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile, is a complete exterior transformation and dynamic interior redesign, a major step towards the museum’s goal of rebranding for a more highbrow image. The new design transforms the Petersen building into one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles. The new design transforms the Petersen building into one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles.

Unlike most museum renovations, which involve complete building teardown, this is a repositioning project. To use the metaphor of a car, if the existing building is a car’s chassis, the design is the body. The bones of the structure remain, and the existing concrete portico on Wilshire is removed. The rooftop becomes converted into a party space which can be rented out. A corrugated aluminum rain screen outboard wraps around the building on each of the three street frontages, giving the museum an entirely new look and feel.

“Ribbons” made out of angel hair stainless steel on the front and top, and red painted aluminum on the back and bottom, flow and wrap the building, maneuvering the existing entry vestibule and other apertures. Sitting atop the existing structural system like the body of a car mounted to its frame, the steel “ribbons” evoke a sense of speed and movement and are brushed to avoid creation of glare.

At night, the color and forms will be lit from within to accentuate the steel sculpture and act as a beacon on The Miracle Mile.

Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Associate Architects: House & Robertson
Client: Petersen Automotive Museum
General Contractor: Matt Construction
Fabricator: A. Zahner Company
Photographers: Raimund Koch

Seventy-nine shortlisted buildings were selected for the 2017 American Architecture Awards® for the best new buildings designed and constructed by American architects in the U.S. and abroad and by international architects for buildings designed and built in the United States.

Now in its 23rd year The American Architecture Awards are the nation’s highest public awards given by a non-commercial, non-trade affiliated, public arts, culture and educational institution. This year’s awards were selected by a Greek jury of architects and announced last month.

About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, “Larchmont” for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier’s Books.

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