I have made no secret on this site that I not a fan of the new buildings at LACMA — they are not bad, but they are uninspired, in my opinion. The more I see them the more my opinion of them goes down; not the relatively unoffensive buildings themselves, but the red color scheme throughout. It just seems amateurish to me.
All of the exposed beams are red. At first I kind of liked it; it added a much needed splash of color to the colorless facade of the buildings. But as I jog past them every day (well, almost every day), it just seems like something a first year architecture would do: “Hey, let’s make all of the beams red!”
Maybe “amateurish” is too strong a word. Maybe “obvious” is better. There is just nothing subtle about it, and it seems like an established, confident architect would not need to resort to such an idea. Then again, the beams had to be some color; why not red?
The contrast is made even sharper because the new buildings stand next to the mid-century masterpieces of the original three LACMA buildings, buildings that did not need gimmicks like red beams to stand out.
LACMA is just a mess, architecturally speaking. The new buildings, which were supposed to clean things up, did very little to help.