Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Petersen Auto Museum Redesign to Flame on Wilshire


Have you seen the renderings of the new Petersen Automotive Museum? it’s like a 1950s hot rod, red flames painted across its body, was caught mid-acceleration – right there on the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire.

The current building will be reconfigured and swaddled in beams, from which a new facade of aluminum and stainless steel will be mounted. The museum describes it on their website:

Long ribbons of stainless steel will wrap around three sides and over the top of the deep red building, making a visceral statement that evokes the imagery of speed and the organic curves of a coach-built automobile. At night, the color and forms will be lit from within to accentuate the steel sculpture and act as a beacon in the neighborhood known as The Miracle Mile. 

The new design was discussed on air Friday morning on KPCC with the museum’s Executive Director Terry Kargas and A. Eugene Kohn, Chairman of Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, lead architectural firm for the Petersen redesign. The museum will be raising some $40 million to revamp the building, but will not utilize funds from the controversial sale of some of its automotive collection – those monies will go toward additional galleries and new cars for exhibition.

Relevant to residents of the area: the matte finish on the stainless steel is expected to sparkle, but not produce glare for people living and working nearby, similar to problems Disney Hall downtown encountered in its earliest incarnation. There will be a beautiful deck on the rooftop for parties and events. The museum will be closed only in sections during renovation, and the entire project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2015.

Just seeing the design makes me want to get in a souped-up muscle car and burn some rubber. It’s an exciting time on Museum Mile.


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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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  1. Is this a car museum or an architectural zebra? It’s pathetic that they hired KPF and allowed them to put their interns on the project. This would design not pass muster at a first year architecture review.

  2. Why do so few architects in L.A get it right? Another abomination that will look cheesy and date in … ten years ago.


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