issue : 112003

As the only museum that is dedicated to modern art in Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in California Plaza provides valuable public, transitional space(s) within the center of the Downtown's new cultural-arts-corridor on Grand Avenue (edge of Bunker Hill). The museum was designed by Arata Isozaki in early 1980s, encompassing almost 25,000 square feet. of subterranean exhibition space below Grand Avenue. Fortunately, only the administrative part of the museum can be seen from the street level and as a museum without a face; it provides crucial public zone for the downtown community above it.

The museum is uniquely located in between large, diverse urban buildings: condominium towers, office towers, and musical theaters (yes, it's located across the street from the recent 'hoopla'). Because of the museum's subterranean design, the outer surface provides an open public platform where interesting (daily) events, such as erecting large public sculptures, devouring your lunch under the protective glass canopy/roof, and filling up summer nights with live concerts and full of people crossing the area daily. It's one of those spaces where thousands of people use and visit unconsciously... and that's the beauty of it.

Bunker Hill area has been considered somewhat of an utopian and elite version of the downtown by isolation... which is a valid criticism for many years and hopefully this glorified cultural zone will spread over the newly developing loft areas on Spring Street, Broadway and beyond. It's painfully slow to see the (re)growth of Downtown Los Angeles, but at least it's growing... So, walk into it.

:: REF ::
MOCA Los Angeles
Great Buildings Online

*free admission on Thursday nights