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Architect Arata Isozaki
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Location Los Angeles, California   map
Date 1981 to 1986   timeline
Building Type civic art museum
Climate hot, dry
Context urban
Style Post-Modern
Notes Composition in primitive goemetric solids.


Photo, exterior, plaza and fountain



Section Drawing
Perspective Drawing

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

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Discussion MOCA Commentary

"Ordinances required a building of low height, with a pedestrian walkway crossing its axis....The building is built around a terraced courtyard. The galleries are below ground level, most having overhead lighting. Under the courtyard, the galleries lead into each other from left to right. Above the courtyard, the only building which stands out is the section devoted to administration, with a roof in the shape of a semicircular dome....The whole geometric composition of the building is based on the golden section as the Western method of planning shapes and subdivided the spaces, and on the oriental theory of ying and yang, positive—negative. The rooms in the extremes of the building have expressive skylights in volumetrically pure shapes: various pyramids and a series of linear skylights....The exterior is a natural reddish coloured stone, contrasting with the transparent skylights and the lustre of the semi-cylindrical roof of the offices..."

—Josep M. Montaner. New Museums. p99.

The Creator's Words

"For the first twenty years of my career as a professional architect, I believed that architecture could only be accomplished by irony.

It could allude to treason.
It made it possible to create architecture as criticism.
It could admire the vulgar against the noble, the secular against the sacred, without shame.

It was an unfulfilled wish, a mourning for what was lost—
Hiroshima, holocaust
To bridge over the gap—
A style of wit, a sense of humor and paradox were adopted.

After twenty years of practical experience, I am now going to find a method to create architecture without irony.

—Arata Isozaki, "Architecture With or Without Irony," 1985. from Arata Isozaki. Arata Isozaki: Architecture 1960-1990. p9.


24,500 square feet of exhibition space

Client: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Design team: Shin Watanabe, Hajime Yatsuka, Makoto Kikuchi, Ronald Rose, Allyne Winderman
Consultants: Gruen Associates, Los Angeles (associate architect); John A. Martin & Associates (structural); Syska & Hennessy (mechanical); Jules Fisher & Paul Marantz Inc. (lighting); Bolt, Beranek & Newman (acoustical); Chermayeff & Geismar Contractor: HCB Contractors

Sources on MOCA

Donald Corner and Jenny Young. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1834.018. PCD.2260.1012.1834.003.

Arata Isozaki. Arata Isozaki: Architecture 1960-1990. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1991. NA1559.I79A4 1991. ISBN 0-8478-1318-5. LC 90-50795. p9, 290.

Josep M. Montaner. New Museums. London: Architecture and Design Technology Press, 1990. NA 6695 .M6613 1990b. ISBN 1-85454-600-7. p99. exterior perspective, p102. section, p75, plate 8.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about MOCA


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