Exposed and Always Under Construction

Formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art, wHY collaborated with the ICA LA (Institute for Contemporary Art) to identify a new set of strategies for rebranding and relaunching in a repurposed 12,500 square foot building in the burgeoning LA Arts District.

Within this framework, wHY’s design supports the non-collecting institution by providing a flexible, adaptable environment to exhibition multi-dimensional, multi-media and forward-thinking art. The space also supports diverse programs such as education. Instead of treating the building as a precious object when completed, the design focuses on the ability for continuing modifications, keeping the institution on a creative path through its architecture.

The ICA LA flows like a studio visit or behind the scenes tour of a museum. One enters into the lobby and is immediately immersed within the open office and education space of the museum, revealing the inner workings as part of their educational mission and showcasing the accessibility of curators and museum staff.

Recognized in the art world for discovering new artists and giving them their first shows, the ICA LA’s three multi-sized galleries can be used simultaneously or separately depending on the work being displayed, giving the museum much added flexibility in their programming.

  • Date
  • Workshops
    Buildings, Objects
  • Client
    ICA LA
  • Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Area
    12,500 sq. ft.
  • Role
    Lead Architect

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