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Over the last few weeks, the world’s architectural spotlight has been focused on the new Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles. But across town, another museum has been rising — and it is also architecturally significant — though for very different reasons. The scaffolding is off the Petersen Automotive Museum on Mid-Wilshire, and even though the building isn’t yet open to the public, the reactions have been passionate.
“The New Look of the Petersen Automotive Museum is Really Really Bad,” trumpeted a headline in Curbed. (The story, by Marissa Gluck, went on to describe the building as “the Guy Fieri of buildings: obnoxious, loud, and, ultimately, sure to be inexplicably embraced by the public.”) Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed wrote that it is “different and kind of hideous.” And L.A. cultural critic William Poundstone asked, is it “too Vegas for the Pritzker-ified Museum Mile?” (The building sits across the street from structures by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano at the L.A. County Museum of Art.)
The building, designed by New York-based firm Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), is a bit of a statement to say the least: a red box structure wrapped in a series of churning steel ribbons, which are meant to evoke a sense of speed and movement. The new design, reported KPF’s website, “transforms the Petersen building into one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles.” […]