Other updates include an angular, exposed structural concrete underside to the globe—mimicking the theater’s seating rake—supported by columns. By reorienting the theater south (it had faced north), the team was able to free up covered space under the structure, enlarging the adjacent outdoor plaza, said Zoltan Pali. Above the theater, still inside the globe, will be a large indoor plaza. The globe itself will be supported with “thin and lacy” steel cables and piping that cut into the globe in large pieces.
Between the May building and the Globe, the architects have designed what they call the spine, an interstitial space connecting the two buildings and containing mechanical systems. This element, made out of what Pali called “the lightest possible glass and steel,” will look somewhat like scaffolding, conjuring up images of film and theater sets. Bright red steel components will cover mechanical systems, making them part of the architecture. This is a reference not only to Piano’s work at LACMA, but also to his Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The renovated May building itself will remain largely intact, containing the majority of the complex’s exhibition spaces. The ground floor will contain the lobby, exhibits, and dining space. The second and third floors will contain exhibits, the fourth will contain educational spaces, and the fifth floor will contain events spaces. Smaller new theaters and screening rooms will be built on the ground, second, and third floors. The project’s EIR process has just begun, and construction should begin in 18 months. Completion is scheduled for 2017.
“LACMA will be quite a place,” said Pali. “I think it can be our cultural core.”