Pritzker-prize winning architect Peter Zumthor has unveiled plans for a new solar-powered campus for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Commissioned by the museum, the design provides ‘new insight into the meaning and function of an encyclopaedic museum and the relationship of architecture to its site,’ and it comes with a rooftop array of solar panels that can power both the museum itself and feed energy back into LA's burgeoning grid.
Zumthor, who is perhaps best known for designing London’s 2011 Serpentine Pavilion, proposes to demolish the existing museum structure originally designed by William Pereira. At 775ft at the thickest part of the curvilinear building likened to a water lily with 360 degrees of the surrounding landscape, the new campus would more or less retain the original footprint.
Nevertheless, Zumthor gives the project new double height, glazed openings that permit natural light and a change of circulation on the perimeter of the building that creates a sense of continuity and expansion. Outside a network of walking and cycling trails create a mini urban park that encourages community. Lastly, the rooftop solar panels give the project a ray of sustainability as they will generate all of the museum’s required energy and all excess will be fed into the city’s grid.
Models of the redesign are currently on display at LACMA as part of the exhibition entitled The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. It will continue through 15 September, 2013.