The Building and its Environs

The Museum's permanent home in Pan Pacific Park features a subterranean design typifying 'form follows function.' Paramount to the Museum's design strategy is the integration of the building into the surrounding, open park landscape. Patrons begin their procession into the Museum at the drop-off adjacent to the park. Their approach is marked by sounds and sights of laughter and sport - of kids playing in the park and picnicking with their families. Upon entering, visitors experience the culmination of their transition from a playful and unrestrained, public park atmosphere to a series of isolated spaces saturated with photographic archival imagery. The lighting of the galleries dims as the visitor steps down into the subsequent rooms. By the third and fourth rooms the ambient lighting becomes scarcer; leading visitors to the room entitled "Concentration Camps." The ceiling is low, and the room is almost entirely illuminated by individual interactive video-monitors - about the size of a notebook - limiting viewing to a single spectator. The visitor is now in the most isolated, darkest and smallest underground area in the Museum. The journey from this point forward is one of ascension and finding the comfort of familiar space as floor levels begin to rise and natural light begins to penetrate the interior once again. Visitors exit the Museum by ascending up to the level of the existing Monument, regaining the visual and auditory connection with the park environs.

The building enjoys the environment benefits of a green roof, including natural insulation from both heat and sound. The design is particularly environmentally sustainable as it is a subterranean building. The roof top garden showcases ornamental native grasses such as blue garma, and climate appropriate grasses including esparto grass and pine muhly grass. The garden is totally organic and will be maintained without the use of chemical compounds.


2015 Interior Design Best of Year “Best in 10”: Institutional
2014 American Institute of Architects Institute Honor Award for Architecture
2014 American Institute of Architects Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture
2013 Ontario Association of Architects (Canada) - Design Excellence Award
2013 International Space Design Award - Idea-Tops – Nomination Award, Best Design Nomination of Cultural Space
2012 Extraordinary Vision Award
2011 LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold Certification from U.S. Green Building Council
2011 Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission Architecture Award
2011 AIA CC Design Award
2011 AIA | LA Honor Award
2011 Interior Design Magazine Best of the Year Award: Institutional
2011 Design Excellence Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects California Council. 2011 Annual Design Review Award: Honorable Mention
2011 Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles Design/Green Honor Award
2011 The American Architecture Award by Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design
2011 Green Good Design Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban studies
2009 City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission (CAC): Unbuilt Design Honor Award
2008 Allen Matkins Green Building Award presented by L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa
2008 Los Angeles Business Council - Los Angeles Architectural Award of Excellence in the category of Green Building Award for Design Concept.