Thursday, January 24

Hammer Museum’s $180 million expansion to improve accessibility, add exhibits


Scott Tennent, chief communications director for the Hammer Museum, said the new space where City National Bank is currently located will be used to house a full gallery and a new entrance to the museum. (Courtesy of Michael Maltzan Architecture)

Scott Tennent, chief communications director for the Hammer Museum, said the new space where City National Bank is currently located will be used to house a full gallery and a new entrance to the museum. (Courtesy of Michael Maltzan Architecture)



Correction: The original version of this article contained several errors. The article incorrectly stated Scott Tennent was the chief communications director. In fact, he is the chief communications officer. The article also incorrectly stated the third floor used to house offices. In fact, it still houses offices. The article also incorrectly stated the project will add a bridge to the museum. In fact, the bridge was added in 2015.

This post was updated Jan. 8 at 6:13 p.m.

The Hammer Museum will undergo renovations and expansion on Wilshire Boulevard through 2020 to include new galleries and office space.

The Hammer acquired the first floor of an adjacent building on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Glendon Avenue from City National Bank, as well as an extra floor in the current museum from UCLA. The expansion and renovation, which began in fall 2016, is part of a $180 million campaign to transform the museum, as well as increase its endowment.

Scott Tennent, chief communications officer for the Hammer Museum, said the new space where City National Bank is currently located will be used to house a full gallery and a new entrance to the museum. The third floor of the current building, which houses offices as well as an art gallery, will be expanded to a full gallery. Office space for the museum will then be moved to the fourth and fifth floors of the building.

A new restaurant at the Hammer will open in February and offer lunch and dinner as well as a full bar. Tennent said the restaurant will feature indoor and outdoor seating and lighting from artist Jorge Pardo, which he said will make the courtyard more lively.

Other renovations include adding a wheelchair-accessible ramp and transforming the terrace facing Lindbrook Drive into an enclosed space for educational projects.

Tennent said Michael Maltzan, the architect for the project, wanted to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for patrons.

He said the museum spread the renovations to the existing building over multiple years in order to stay open to the public during construction.

The Hammer plans to present art in the new building’s gallery similar to the current museum, including 19th-century paintings, contemporary art from emerging and unknown artists and works from the UCLA Grunwald Center, Tennent said.

The expansion into the new building will be completed in 2020, Tennent said.

Refat Ahsan, a fourth-year biochemistry student, said he thinks the design of the new gallery looks welcoming.

“The more open spaces and modern aesthetic feels much more inviting,” Ahsan said.

Tennent said he thinks the expanded museum will be a major attraction for users of the Metro Purple Line Extension exit that is expected to be fully functional on Wilshire and Westwood boulevards by 2028.

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said the new entrances to the building would make the museum more accessible. He added the expansions would make good use of the new building, as much of it was unoccupied in the past.

“The Hammer is not too open right now and the access points aren’t that nice, but the new entrances will be much better,” Thomas said.

Ted Park, a fourth-year business economics student, said he thinks the new exhibits would entice more students to visit the museum.

“It’s exciting to see the Hammer Museum is bringing more exhibits to the area and to encourage more students to explore the museum’s diverse collection,” Park said.

 

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