long beach museum of art

The glass lantern view of the Long Beach Museum of Art.

In 2000, Frederick Fisher and Partners designed a new 12,800-square-foot building, the Long Beach Museum of Art’s Hartman Pavilion, now a well-loved destination situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Until the campus restructure, LBMA's art collection had been housed in the historic 1911 Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House, with the original carriage house used for educational programs. In 2000, the LBMA campus was reconfigured, moving the carriage house, restoring the Anderson House and opening the new two-story exhibition pavilion.

Detroit architect Joseph Coriaty, with Frederick and Fisher and Partners, said he enjoyed the challenge of “figuring out tricky projects and designing cultural facilities that help to build community.”

The LBMA project presented an opportunity to design for culture, utilizing the LBMA campus as an asset and present a wonderful gift to the community. Coriaty said he had been a fan of Long Beach from his first visit to the city, with its “shockingly amazing blend of architecture, some of the best in California.”

Coriaty noted that the final plan, “came about as a napkin sketch with (at the time) Museum Director, Hal Nelson, looking to remain on the Ocean Blvd campus.”

“The Museum Board of Directors wanted to expand beyond the small Anderson House galleries, which were not consistent with the strength of the art programs," Coriaty said. “Several downtown locations were considered, including the area where the Terrace Theater was built and near the Walker Building. It was a difficult and arduous process to receive permissions, funding and community approval for staying on Ocean Boulevard.”

The board wanted a space to show world-class exhibits while preserving the beauty of the campus. Coriaty said the LBMA Board deserves credit for keeping the project on Ocean Boulevard. 

The final project was approved as a trio of buildings, using the lawn between the buildings as an important connection. The Hartman Pavilion is on the original site of the carriage house. The Pavilion was designed as a long, simple building for world-class exhibition space. This allowed for the carriage house to be used for education and the Anderson House for community-scale activities.

“We kept the building simple. reductive; we paid attention to the existing buildings, respected the inherent beauty of the campus, and ensured that we made a connection from the inside of the building with the outside,” Coriaty said.

“We wanted to create a welcoming lantern, activating the interior, connecting the lawn to the building, a transparent and visual access to the building and the campus,” Coriaty said, speaking of the steel and glass “lantern” element on the Ocean Boulevard and lawn sides of the Pavilion. 

A free lecture, Designing for Culture: Long Beach Museum of Art, will feature Coriaty and an expert panel from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 3. Reservations are required and can be made at https://kahlo.ticketspice.com/long-beach-architecture-week. For more, go to architecture.lbhomeliving.com/ or email lbhomeliving@gmail.com.

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