Zumthor explains design for 'sacred, sublime and profane' LA County Museum of Art

by Magali Robathan | 17 Oct 2016
You’ll have this almost sacred, sublime kind of experience, but I would also like to accommodate the profane, the dirty, the normal, the everyday
– Peter Zumthor

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor has told CLAD that his proposed redevelopment of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) will create a “sacred, sublime kind of experience.”

In an exclusive interview during a recent trip to London, Zumthor explained his vision for the project.

“The museum is not organised in timelines, periods or geographical regions,” he said. “It's organised like a forest with clearings inside, where we have free choice to go to this clearing, or to the next. I would like to allow an experience of art where people can go and look at the art without didactics, without premature explanations, and make their own experience.”

The project will see four of LACMA's deteriorating structures replaced by the new Zumthor-designed building, which will house the museum's permanent collection of historic and contemporary art. Eight semi-transparent pavilions will support an elevated, organically-shaped main exhibition level, with access points to the surrounding gardens.

“The museum is open to the outside; this is very important,” Zumthor told CLAD. “You’ll have this almost sacred, sublime kind of experience, but I would also like to accommodate the profane, the dirty, the normal, the everyday.

“You start off down on the ground – this is normal city life – then as you go up you are received in a beautiful big palace for the people. From there you can go to the clearings, and that’s where you have the most intimate and maybe more private experiences of art."

Zumthor highlighted the Palazzo Fortuny art museum in Venice as an example of the qualities he is aiming for with his design, which he summarised as “a rich atmosphere, historic density and material presence”.

The architect also revealed that he is working on new images of LACMA to illustrate his proposed design, adding that the "commercial-looking" visualisations released in August were created for an environmental review only.

“They were conventional renderings, which I personally don't like so much," he explained, adding that his studio is currently working on photos taken from models which are prepared especially for the purpose. “The models allow us to take pictures with natural daylight, the light of the sun, which makes a lot of difference,” he said. “These will explain the building better.”

Speaking about his architectural philosophy, Zumthor argued he aims to provoke emotions with his designs. He said: “I love buildings. When I look back on my life I love the buildings that speak to me by means of their atmospheric qualities, a feeling of history, of being complete. I want to make buildings which have the capacity to be loved, that’s all.

“I'm extremely sensitive to things that don't work. Many people see what's ugly and doesn't work in the world, but I have skills and talent [to design things that do work]. That's a gift.”

An extensive interview with Peter Zumthor will be featured in the next issue of CLADmag. Meanwhile his long-running work on Norway’s National Tourist Route is featured a in the new issue of the magazine, which can now downloaded as a PDF or read on digital turning pages.

Peter Zumthor  LACMA  Los Angeles  Architecture 
Related stories

Peter Zumthor creates unique museum at site of abandoned Norwegian mine

New renderings reveal Peter Zumthor's US$600m LACMA museum redesign

Peter Zumthor’s latest addition to Norway’s tourist routes opening in September

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor has told CLAD that his proposed redevelopment of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) will create a “sacred, sublime kind of experience.” In an exclusive interview during a recent trip to London, Zumthor explained his vision for the project. “The museum is not organised in timelines, periods or geographical regions,” he said. “It's organised like a forest with clearings inside, where we have free
CLD,HAM,AAC,PRO,ARC,DES,PHR
Zumthor told CLAD, 'I want to make buildings which have the capacity to be loved' / Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7138     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7138     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Dornbracht GmbH
Dornbracht is turning the bathroom into a LifeSpa: Dornbracht’s LifeSpa vision has taken the idea of health-oriented bathroom design to a new level.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Interview: Blurred lines
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

Elizabeth and Christian de Portzamparc launched 2Portzamparc together
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

features
Interview: John McElgunn and Stephen Barrett
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

features
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

A ‘glass waterfall’ houses a vertical circulation core and lifts
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

cladkit product news
Tom Dixon Studio to relaunch iconic Pylon chair
Pylon was first designed more than 20 years ago
Lauren Heath-Jones
Originally conceived in his metal workshop in the early 90's, the Pylon chair was Dixon's attempt to create the world's ...
Duravit launches Tempano shower trays
The Tempano trays feature a state-of-the-art design that combines a linear slope with a high drainage rate
Lauren Heath-Jones
Duravit, a Germany-based bathroom fixtures company, has launched Tempano, a series of easy-to-install shower trays for the home. Available in ...
ZHD'S MEW Coffee Table explores relationship between surface and structure
The MEW Coffee Table is described as an investigation into the relationship between surface and structure
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with Italian furniture design firm Sawaya & Moroni to create the Mew Coffee Table. The ...
cladkit product news
nea studio showcase seaweed's design potential with hand-crafted algae lamps
The seaweed lamps were inspired by Edwards Anker's ethos of incorporating local and organic materials in her designs to give them a sense of place
Lauren Heath-Jones
Nina Edwards Anker, a Brooklyn-based designer and founder of architecture and design practice nea studio, has created a new collection ...
Paul Kelley pushes 'technical boundaries' with modular furniture cube system
The system is designed to enable users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, where they are in complete control of the design and function of their furniture
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer Paul Kelley has created a modular magnetic cube furniture system that enables users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, ...
Crown overhaul changing rooms at Saunton Sands spa
Crown Sports Lockers installed rain of Nebraska Oak clothes lockers with RFID Digilocks in the changing rooms
Lauren Heath-Jones
Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon, UK, has completed a £2m expansion of its spa and wellness facilities. The upgrade included ...
cladkit product news
Alusid's Sequel collection combines craftsmanship and sustainability says founder
The Sequel collection is billed as the 'most waste-efficient and sustainable' on the market
Lauren Heath-Jones
Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces, has partnered with Parkside to launch the Sequel range, the brand's first collection of ...
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
BD Barcelona Design reveals Cristallo by the late Alessandro Mendini
Cristallo was the last design from acclaimed designer and architect Alessandro Mendini
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design Studio BD Barcelona Design has released Cristallo, a limited-edition cabinet designed by the late architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates