Santa Monica-based Belzberg Architects, the firm of SCI-Arc alumnus
Aaron Leppanen (March2 '06), has recently completed work on the new
Los Angeles Museum of Holocaust (LAMOTH). The $15.5-million museum is sunk partially below ground and its rooftop paths seem like extensions of the walkways in Pan Pacific Park.
"Working on the museum was really an amazing experience," said Leppanen, who served as project designer and project manager during the 3.5-year process.
With an area of only 32,000 sq.ft., the new LAMOTH is not a large museum, and it appears even smaller because the architects chose to partially bury it beneath the landscape. They describe their decision as "metaphoric—allowing for a dramatic entry ramp that looks like a gash through the earth—but also proving practical in relation to the context." The roof's landscape design and the building's interior circulation tie into existing pathways, successfully knitting together museum and park.
LAMOTH, which offers free admission, is fitted with advanced technologies in order to connect with younger visitors. Upon entering, each visitor is handed an iTouch, which syncs with interactive displays that play audio accounts of the Holocaust from Los Angeles residents. Also on view are photographs, models, and other artifacts.
The museum originally opened in 1961, making it the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States.