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wHY's new expansion of David Kordansky Gallery opens in Los Angeles
Exterior of David Kordansky Gallery in Mid-City, Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- wHY designed the original building for David Kordansky Gallery in Mid-City, Los Angeles, in 2014, and the 12,818 square foot expansion adds two new exhibition spaces and a landscaped courtyard for a range of new programming, including performance, film, and outdoor sculpture.

“In LA, so many great moments of cultural exchange happen in backyards where people feel at home,” said wHY’s Creative Director, Kulapat Yantrasast. “We felt that the David Kordansky Gallery environments should highlight this unique aspect of the city’s cultural life. The art scene in LA is very down-to-earth and personal, and I think exhibition spaces should reflect that rather than trying to appear commercial or corporate.”

As in the case of the original gallery building (a former martial arts center), the expansion repurposes existing structures on the busy La Brea corridor. In contrast to the dramatically scaled 15,000 square foot original gallery building, with its vaulted bow truss roof and expansive halls for art installations, the 2000 square foot exhibition spaces are proportioned to encourage a sense of intimacy and contemplation. The new exhibition spaces provide the ideal opportunity for displaying smaller scale works and holding private viewings, allowing for new and varied programming across the different buildings. The expansion launched with an exhibition of paintings by Linda Stark, the first show of work by the Los Angeles-based artist at the gallery.

The palette of materials for the new exhibition spaces is consistent with the original gallery: concrete floors, a timber roof structure, and white walls. However, the detailing creates a softer, chapel-like atmosphere, heightened by the sculptural coved ceiling. In keeping with wHY’s emphasis on the use of natural light in galleries, the exhibition spaces are illuminated by skylights; designed to contrast with the smooth coved perimeter of the ceiling, the skylights are installed to reveal the raw structural elements of the roof.

The structure of the repurposed buildings was simplified and clarified, creating a coherent formal logic throughout the site. Together, the unconventional arrangement of the different buildings generated an opportunity for a 3768 square foot landscaped sculpture courtyard designed by wHY’s Landscape Workshop. The gallery’s signature minimal aesthetic and asphalt grey exterior walls are accentuated by a landscape of drought-resistant plants and vines, setting the scene for new sculptures by Rashid Johnson and Will Boone. The courtyard is reached via a flowing terraced stair-corridor which leads the visitor into the new space from the original gallery, connecting the different areas of the site together as a whole.

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