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Museum Architects

June 14, 1987

I am writing in regard to Mike Granberry's article, "Top Architect Tapped for Tough Museum Task," (June 10). While I was very pleased to read the article and the quotes from our architect, Robert Venturi, I hasten to note several key factual errors.

First and foremost is the statement about the architecture of Irving Gill, described in the article as the architect "who designed the existing building in 1941." As many scholars and all aficionados of local architecture know, our museum, as it now exists, is the result of the work of two notable architects: Irving Gill, who designed Ellen Browning Scripps' home on this site in 1916, and Robert Mosher, who skillfully expanded on the then-named La Jolla Art Center in three different renovations (1950, 1959 and 1979). Mosher's work can be seen in the building as it now exists. Especially if one stands in the Glass Gallery at the northwest corner of the museum, one can see how well Mosher incorporated the volumetric forms of Gill's original building into a workable museum space.

As the article did note, one reason the trustees selected Robert Venturi as architect for this current expansion was his great sensitivity to the natural beauty of the site and the historical importance of La Jolla's "cultural zone" (the only remaining neighborhood in San Diego with a significant grouping of major public buildings by Gill). As we see it, our museum, when fully expanded in 1991, will be the result of the contributions of three distinguished architects: Irving Gill, Robert Mosher and Robert Venturi.

Furthermore, the article states that the Venturi expansion will add only 10,000 square feet of exhibition space. In fact, the expansion will add more than this much-needed exhibition space. It also will add art storage facilities to protect and care for the 3,500 works in our permanent collection, add an education space, provide improved access to our rear sculpture garden, increase the size of our bookstore and cafe and expand our research library facilities. All of these requirements are carefully defined and designed to provide for the museum's needs into the 21st Century.

HUGH M. DAVIES

Director

La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art

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