Ugly or Visionary? L.A.’s New Buildings Are Either Case Studies of Architectural Ambition or Cautionary Tales

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Ugly or Visionary? L.A.’s New Buildings Are Either Case Studies of Architectural Ambition or Cautionary Tales

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Ugly or Visionary? L.A.’s New Buildings Are Either Case Studies of Architectural Ambition or Cautionary Tales

L.A. has always been a place of experimentation, but now it appears to be in a design arms race

Introducing a new building to the public isn’t much different from serving monkfish liver to a five-year-old: It’s unfamiliar. The texture is strange. The color is funky. Perhaps with repeated exposure a fondness may develop—then again, it may not.

L.A. has always been a place of experimentation, but now it appears to be in an architectural arms race, a competition to build the tallest, shiniest, and weirdest buildings. Adding to some Angelenos’ trepidation is how many of the projects popping up around the city are museums—built to last for 40 years or more, which is an eternity in a city known for knocking things down.

Resistance to landscape-altering construction can be expected, but these days every new civic or cultural building presents an opportunity for public dissent, protracted litigation, and Twitter-spheric opining. When Swiss architect Peter Zumthor revealed the black tar pit-like shape that was to become the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, bloggers expressed disgust, referring to it as a “blob” and a spaceship. […]

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