Since we broke the news Friday night about Eli Broad's museum talks with Santa Monica, there have been copycat blog posts — plus a nice mention by Tyler Green at Modern Arts Notes — and a Mike Boehm story in Monday's L.A. Times detailing how Broad is still talking to Beverly Hills and a third mystery city. With the Santa Monica City Council taking up the Broad topic tonight, LAT architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne considers the Beverly Hills and Santa Monica sites and reports rumors that Westwood and UCLA may be in the running.
The [BH] location, surrounded by mostly low-rise buildings, has the advantage of being far closer to the geographical center of L.A. than the Santa Monica location, where Broad might run the risk of creating an institution instantly seen as the Westside's version of MoCA. But its unorthodox shape could pose problems. Great architects can make nearly any parcel of land work, but the easiest solution here is a building with the size and shape of an ocean liner....
A museum in that [SM] spot would face fewer constraints than one in Beverly Hills. It could slip rather comfortably into a neighborhood that is already walkable and relatively lively at street level. Its architect, theoretically, would have more freedom in shaping the building’s volume than would be the case in Beverly Hills. But the museum, given its location in the city’s administrative core, might over time begin to be seen as a Santa Monica civic building as much as an Eli Broad building.
Hawthorne says officials for UCLA and Culver City both deny being engaged in any current discussions with Broad.