GH (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Less Proud Of People Than Of Cars

Turning it’s back on the city, Los
Angeles, unlike its sister San
Francisco, tends to gather moss,
not patina, without coherent plan.
Less proud of people than of cars,
it treasures stand sequestered and aloof,
reached by the freeways you must parse
before you find a park beneath their roof.

Christopher McNulty (“Govan pushes LACMA’s boundaries, ” LA Time, March 14,2008) writes that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art might use its newly acquired piece of land to accommodate a new subway station, but doubts that Michael Govan would be in favor of such a move. The recent extension to the museum financed largely by Eli Broad, BCAM, has turned out to be a fiasco, a monument to the ego of a philanthropist rather than the spirit of the city. It contrasts with the building Linda and I have just explored in San Francisco:

In any case, by establishing a new pedestrian axis along the back of the new BCAM building, hidden from Wilshire, Piano had already acquiesced to the notion of the museum campus s separate from the life of the boulevard. BCAM itself, with its blank travertine walls facing Wilshire, largely turns its back on the city as well. This is something of a tradition, of course, in Los Angeles. Aloofness from the street is central to the architecture of the Getty Center, the Getty Villa, the Huntington and the Norton Simon, among other. Those museums, all private exist as leafy retreats from the city.


by gershon hepner

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