los angeles

Petersen Automotive Museum

Federico Tibytt

The Petersen Museum is a mandatory visit while in Los Angeles for its magnificent architecture and strict curatorial criteria.

After 13 months of renovations at a cost of $90 million, a new version of the iconic Petersen Automotive Museum was recently unveiled in Los Angeles, California.

New York’s renowned architecture studio
Kohn – Pedersen – Fox created the museum`s new layout. The team devised the building as the west entrance to the city’s museum district, home to the the Los Angeles County Museum of art (LACMA), and the future site of the Museum of the Academy of Motion Art.

At first glance, the big metal loops surrounding the building seem to be in constant movement, spectacularly displayed by a system of multi-color backlights.


The building’s interior is divided thematically into three levels (historical, industrial, and artistic) plus 25 rooms. Several distinguished American car collectors are included in the select group of new members whose names grace each of the 25 rooms. They are mainly responsible for the capital campaign that allowed the museum to have a new life.

Real Estate magnate
Bruce Mayer is one of the partners, and one of the galleries bears his name. Part of his car collection is on view in Precious Metals, and exhibit that features emblematic models in different shades of silver.

Historically, silver vehicles have represented the highest level of design and technology in the industry. In fact, the Mayer Family Collection is the most expensive in the museum’s history, with a total value estimated at $120 million.


Other recognized collectors who joined the project are
Peter Mullin, who brought some gems from the early 20th century, such as the Talbot-Lago 150 and a Bugatti Atlantique—among others— and Armand Hammer, whose collection was accented by internationally renowned artists such as Alexander Calder, David Hockney, and Robin Rhode.

The Petersen also features exhibits that elucidate the growth of the automotive industry. We are privy to the different materials and applied technologies, prototypes, fuel development, Hollywood cars, and motorcycles while also discovering the influence of the automobile in the city. The museum offers excellent rotating exhibits with expert curatorship.


The museum also boasts a design gallery that works as a satellite of the Los Angeles Art Center of the College of Design, where visitors can see how a new car is designed, and a production gallery that shows—in five stations—the different production stages of a modern vehicle, using a spectacular
Maserati as an example.

For its spectacular architectural design, the
Petersen Automotive Museum— located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd—is one more visit not to be missed in the City of Angels.

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