SEMA eNews Vol. 20, No. 15, April 13, 2017

Petersen Automotive Museum Wins 2017 American Architecture Award

By SEMA Editors

Located on “Museum Row” of the famed “Miracle Mile,” the new Petersen Automotive Museum, which showcases the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile, is a complete exterior transformation and dynamic interior redesign.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is one of 79 buildings in the world to win a 2017 American Architecture Award. Now in its 23rd year, The American Architecture Awards were announced March 27 by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies—organizers of this annual program for design excellence and for the finest contributions to contemporary American architecture.

The American Architecture Awards recognize the best new buildings designed and constructed by American architects in the United States and abroad, and by international architects for buildings designed and built in the United States. They are the nation’s highest public awards given by a non-commercial, non-trade-affiliated, public arts, culture and educational institution. From a shortlist of 300 buildings and urban planning projects, this year’s American Architecture Awards went to skyscrapers, corporate headquarters, governmental buildings, science and technology centers, transportation centers, airports, hotels, parks, pavilions, restorations and renovations, retail facilities, housing projects, private homes, schools, universities, art, cultural and health buildings, urban planning and landscape architecture, interiors, and other humanitarian and educational initiatives.

The winners will be honored at a gala reception and dinner at the Orlando Museum of Art on April 27,

Located in the Museum Row of the famed Wilshire Miracle Mile, the new Petersen Automotive Museum, which showcases the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile, is a complete exterior transformation and dynamic interior redesign, a major step toward the museum’s goal of rebranding. The new design transforms the Petersen building into one of the most significant structures in Los Angeles.

Unlike most museum renovations, which involve complete building teardown, this is a repositioning project. The bones of the structure remain, and the existing concrete portico on Wilshire is removed. The rooftop becomes converted into a party space, which can be rented out. A corrugated aluminum rain screen outboard wraps around the building on each of the three street frontages, giving the museum an entirely new look and feel.

“Ribbons” made out of angel hair stainless steel on the front and top, and red painted aluminum on the back and bottom, flow and wrap the building, maneuvering the existing entry vestibule and other apertures. Sitting atop the existing structural system like the body of a car mounted to its frame, the steel “ribbons” evoke a sense of speed and movement and are brushed to avoid creation of glare.

At night, the color and forms will be lit from within to accentuate the steel sculpture.

Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Associate Architects: House & Robertson
Client: Petersen Automotive Museum
General Contractor: Matt Construction

Fabricator: A. Zahner Company
Photographers: Raimund Koch

For more information about attending the gala reception or for submitting 2018 applications, contact Jennifer Nyholm at 815-777-4444 or

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