The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) is already one of L.A.’s cultural treasures — but USC students aim to make it even better for visitors.
Students and faculty from the USC School of Architecture have partnered with Art Center College of Design to reimagine the entry and plaza for the 1986 building that stands on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. It’s the first time that students and faculty from the two design schools have collaborated on a major project.
There is no better way to be contemporary and stay contemporary than to work with students who bring new ideas and new perspectives and approach the world as a place to inhabit and improve.Philippe Vergne
Under the guidance of USC professor Geoffrey von Oeyen, 12 fourth-year USC architecture students were selected to participate. They worked with 12 ArtCenter students, advised by ArtCenter faculty Chiara Ferrari and Jeff Higashi, to transform spaces such as the museum’s café, lobby lounge, courtyard and bookstore. As part of the project, USC architecture student work included a short video, a scale model of the new MOCA spaces and schematic architectural and design drawings. Final studio presentations offered imaginative solutions to many of MOCA’s challenges, including wayfinding and equal accessibility for all patrons.
The project has strong USC connections. It was made possible by the Martin Architecture and Design Workshop, or MADWORKSHOP. Alumni David C. Martin ’66 and his wife, Mary Klaus Martin ’66, MA ’66, started the MADWORKSHOP effort to give creators “the opportunity to freely explore their ideas from inspiration to reality.” David C. Martin, a lecturer at the School of Architecture, is a third-generation architect and design principal of AC Martin. Sofia Borges, the foundation’s director and also a School of Architecture lecturer, oversees the project.
Students gain valuable experience by working with a client. But MOCA also benefits from drawing from the imagination of budding architects. “There is no better way to be contemporary and stay contemporary than to work with students who bring new ideas and new perspectives and approach the world as a place to inhabit and improve,” says Philippe Vergne, MOCA director.