Architecture People & Places


Moshe Safdie in Los Angeles, California

The fourth phase of the Skirball Cultural Center, under construction in Los Angeles, California will open in October 2013. Image: Courtesy Skirball Cultural Center

Construction continues on the fourth and final phase of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California, set to open in October 2013. The thirty-year project has been masterplanned and designed by Moshe Safdie.

This phase of the development will feature two adjoining buildings – Herscher Hall and Guerin Pavilion – on the north side of the campus. These facilities will provide additional space for the Skirball's programming, including the addition of 40,000 square feet of classrooms, conference spaces, gardens, and a grand hall accommodating up to 1,200 guests. The 9,000-square-foot (840-square-meter) grand hall is daylit by nearly 100 custom skylights in a roof supported by Oregon Douglas Fir beams.

Interior rendering of the great hall and its window wall. Image: Courtesy Skirball Cultural Center

A large window-wall frames a view of the cascading terraced courtyard garden, which contains 30 Japanese maple trees. And the entrance plaza to the new building is accented with coral trees, enamel art panels, and a fountain.

The campus building palette comprises pink Tadoussac stone, recessed glazing, stainless steel roofs, vaulted ceilings, and discreet planted areas.

Thirty years ago, Uri D. Herscher and Moshe Safdie envisioned a barren hill in Los Angeles, California as the setting for a cultural institution where people of all backgrounds could come together to discover and celebrate the meaning of heritage.

The design of the Skirball Cultural Center is rooted in a desire to seamlessly weave together the buildings and the surrounding landscape. In response to the site's steep and complex topography, Safdie designed the campus as a series of building clusters and a network of outdoor courtyards, arcades, and landscaped ravines.

Spanning the four construction phases, the indoor spaces include a museum, galleries for changing exhibitions, conference and educational centers, and multipurpose auditoriums. The outdoor spaces integrate the buildings with the natural beauty of the site.

Aerial view of the fourth phase under construction. Image: Courtesy Skirball Cultural Center

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