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It still crosses Wilshire Boulevard. But in other ways, architect Peter Zumthor’s plan for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has undergone a significant makeover.
Once a free-flowing, biomorphic design inspired by the La Brea Tar Pits and the work of the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the design has become noticeably more angular and muscular in recent weeks. It now features double-height galleries made of white or light-gray concrete and poking up above the roofline of the rest of the museum, a break from what had been a resolutely horizontal and all-black form.
“I cannot do the whole museum in black,” Zumthor said by phone Monday from his studio in Haldenstein, Switzerland. “It gets too heavy.”
Two other key elements of the earlier proposal — a continuous loop of hallway galleries along the perimeter of the museum and a collection of six or seven staircases leading directly from ground level to galleries above — are also gone. ….