California's Petersen museum to be transformed in 2014

| 22 Aug 2013

Ambitious plans have been unveiled to completely transform one of the world's most famous car museums.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will start the works next year to mark its 20th anniversary.

The museum has been under fire recently after it was revealed that it was selling a number of exhibits through US auctions, but has defended its position, pointing out that it has a constant turnover of vehicles on its books.

Even so, coming so close to the news of the major revamp, it is sure to raise eyebrows, and sadly divert attention from a remarkable rebuild.

The dramatic exterior design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is planned to turn the Petersen building into one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles.  

According to the museum: "Long ribbons of stainless steel will wrap around three sides and over the top of the deep red building, making a visceral statement that evokes the imagery of speed and the organic curves of a coach-built automobile.  At night, the color and forms will be lit from within to accentuate the steel sculpture and act as a beacon in the neighborhood known as The Miracle Mile."

The interior will also be redesigned  to offer an additional 15,000sq ft of display space and showcase an  "upgraded permanent collection and an expansion of rotating displays, galleries, technology and story-telling, providing visitors with fresh, new experiences throughout the year".

Peter Mullin, the Petersen’s Chairman of the Board, said: “As we approach the Petersen Automotive Museum’s 20th anniversary, our goal is to design and build an exterior as stunning as the vehicles and displays housed inside.

“For two decades this museum has charmed visitors with its fantastic collection and its focus on education and entertainment. Our plan is to work with the best and brightest minds in architecture, automotive history and interactive design to give the people of Los Angeles and the world a place where they can be immersed in the culture, sights and sounds of the greatest vehicles ever built.”

The museum has started a campaign to raise funds for the exterior renovations. For more information on the new Petersen, visit