LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials Tuesday approved $117.5 million to redesign the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, thanks in part to support from two A-list Hollywood actors.
Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton were both on hand for the Board of Supervisors meeting, where they praised architect Peter Zumthor’s single-story design. The structure will be built across and above Wilshire Boulevard using the bond financing matched by $525 million in private money raised by the museum.
The total project cost is $650 million, which includes parking and other infrastructure costs that may not be included in that square footage calculation.
Supervisors agreed to issue $300 million in bond proceeds to fund construction, which officials say can be repaid through LACMA fundraising efforts.
Zumthor, said Pitt, is “one of the great architects of our time … (who) builds from the soul, for the soul”.
“There’s no way to understand his work from a computer-generated image,” said PItt. “You really have to stand in them to see his mastery of light and shadow.”
Keaton used the prestigious Oscars to illustrate Zumthor’s renown in the architectural community.
“This architect, Mr. Zumthor, has been honored with 16 awards,” said Keaton. “So if you were an actor, that means you would have won 14 Academy Awards, which is never going to happen. So I think we’re sitting pretty.”
Photos with various county officials and Pitt were later posted on social media.
But critics of the plan have accused LACMA Director Michael Govan of working to silence opposition to the project, arguing that the museum shouldn’t be saddled with millions of dollars in bond debt.
Residents like Oscar Pena criticized the process as “autocratic and openly hostile to the public”.
Despite a unanimous board vote, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl made a point to note that she supported the design and had no reservations about offering
her support, implying that some of her colleagues were not as enthusiastic.
After the redesign, LACMA will boast a total 220,000 square feet of exhibit space.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)