Petersen Automotive Museum exterior renovation plans

If you were alarmed when the Petersen Automotive Museum starting selling off large and significant parts of its venerable collection, fret not: the museum isn't in trouble. In fact it's about to embark on what could be its most ambitious rebirth since the late Motor Trend publisher Robert E. Petersen and his wife Margie founded the museum nearly 20 years ago.

The plans announced at Pebble Beach this past weekend revolve principally around an architectural renovation of the former department store that houses the museum by the corner of Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax in Los Angeles. The project is being undertaken by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (no relation) and calls for flowing bands of stainless steel enveloping three sides of the red structure, giving the building a fresh look without requiring any structural changes. The steel ribbons will be backlit by LEDs day and night, and remind us of a blend between a hot rod flame job and cartographical topography. But the renovation isn't just a facade: the project will also add another 15,000 square feet of display space inside, with new galleries and digital displays focusing on cars and car culture in South California and around the world.

The overhaul will also encompass a "refined and upgraded" collection as well as rotating displays, although few details were given at this point as to what exactly that will entail. Scope out the video clip and the press release below for more.



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The New Petersen

Iconic Southern California museum unveils plans for a stunning, sculptured metal exterior and cutting-edge interior with interactive displays, transforming it into the world's finest automotive museum. The L.A. cultural landmark will showcase Southern California's rich automotive heritage and will serve as a gateway to the city's "Museum Row."

Los Angeles, Calif., Aug. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Petersen Automotive Museum announced today that it will mark its 20th anniversary in 2014 by commencing a complete exterior transformation and a dynamic redesign of the interior, resulting in a world class museum that will showcase the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile. Displays will feature the prominence of the automobile in Southern California, as well as cars, trucks and motorcycles from around the world. In addition to the facility upgrade, the new Petersen will feature a refined and upgraded permanent collection and an expansion of rotating displays, galleries, technology and
story-telling, providing visitors with fresh, new experiences throughout the year.

The exterior design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will transform the Petersen building into one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles. Long ribbons of stainless steel will wrap around three sides and over the top of the deep red building, making a visceral statement that evokes the imagery of speed and the organic curves of a coach-built automobile. At night, the color and forms will be lit from within to accentuate the steel sculpture and act as a beacon in the neighborhood known as The Miracle Mile.

"As we approach the Petersen Automotive Museum's 20th anniversary, our goal is to design and build an exterior as stunning as the vehicles and displays housed inside," said Peter Mullin, the Petersen's Chairman of the Board. "For two decades this museum has charmed visitors with its fantastic collection and its focus on education and entertainment. Our plan is to work with the best and brightest minds in architecture, automotive history and interactive design to give the people of Los Angeles and the world a place where they can be immersed in the culture, sights and sounds of the greatest vehicles ever built."

The transformation will extend to the museum's interior as well, with a proposed additional 15,000 square feet of display space. Redesigned galleries will feature state-of-the-art lighting, digital displays and immersive learning stations that will tell the stories of the people and machines that changed the world over the past century. Education programs will showcase a restored and upgraded permanent collection that includes historically significant American and European classics, hot rods, groundbreaking race cars, the latest in alternative fuel technology, cars with Hollywood heritage and even vehicles designed and built in Los Angeles itself.

The Petersen will continue the mission set forth by its founder, Robert E. Petersen, to showcase the automobile's role in art and culture, both locally and globally, while celebrating Southern California's place as the epicenter of the automotive landscape.

The museum will immediately begin a capital campaign to raise funds needed for the exterior renovations. For more information on the new Petersen, visit www.Petersen.org.

The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. The Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, California 90036. Admission prices are $15 for general admission adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for students with ID, $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Museum members, active military with ID and children under three are admitted free. Vault tours are available for an additional $25, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and $2.00 each additional 30 minutes. One hour validation with purchase of $10 or more in the Museum Store or Johnny Rockets located in the museum lobby. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. For general Museum information, call 323/930-CARS or visit the Museum's Web site at: www.petersen.org.