wHY’s new Los Angeles arts campus for David Kordansky Gallery

wHY’s new Los Angeles arts campus for David Kordansky Gallery

Mid-City’s David Kordansky Gallery expands to a design by wHY’s Kulapat Yantrasast, spanning a three-volume arts campus that allows for flexibility in cultural programming

Loyally rooted in the California culture, yet with a pulse on the international conversation, David Kordansky Gallery is expanding with an arts campus at the corner of Edgewood and S. La Brea Avenue in Mid-City. Since its humble beginnings in Chinatown in 2003, followed by two different Culver City homes, the gallery has developed into one of the most dynamic venues for contemporary art in Los Angeles.

The renovation was carried out by Los Angeles-based architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHY, who also designed the original gallery on site, which opened in 2014. The new complex comprises three structures, joined by a central landscaped courtyard that will allow visitors to flow between the spaces, creating one dynamic art compound where it’s possible to mount a trio of shows simultaneously.

According to Kordansky, ‘the extended campus gives us a range of new possibilities – intimate exhibition space (an alternative to our larger gallery spaces), an exterior courtyard for outdoor sculpture – and when we can gather safely again – screenings, performances, and events, space for photography, additional storage, etc. We’ve never had this much flexibility for programming before.’

wHY david kordansky gallery nighttime
The Three Fates (2020), an enamel on bronze sculpture by Will Boone, installed near the terraced entryway to David Kordansky Gallery’s new expansion in Mid-City, Los Angeles, designed by wHY. Courtesy of the artist, wHY, and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

The courtyard provides access to the two new exhibition spaces with natural light flooding each space via a centrally cut portal in the ceiling. ‘Kulapat has an ability to highlight the most curious features of a structure while adding clean, focused lines to accentuate art-viewing experiences,’ said Kordansky. ‘He respects art as much as architecture.’

The residential scale and feel of the new arts campus is in tune with the neighborhood. Subtle details soften the space, from coved ceilings to an exterior with a series of monolithic fig-covered site walls that conjure a seamless movement between indoors and outdoors. Dark asphalt bordered with succulent plants and gray gravel create a subdued setting.

Yantrasast drew from the unique aspects of the local art community for inspiration. ‘Many great cultural exchange and art moments in LA happen in wonderful backyards where people feel at home,’ he said. ‘The art scenes in LA are very down-to-earth, and personal, and I think the gallery spaces should reflect that, rather than try to appear commercial or corporate.’

The courtyard space is designed with drought resistant planting, gravel and wooden trim by wHY’s Landscape Workshop to provide a contemplative place for visitors, artists as well as gallery staff to enjoy. ‘The courtyard also comes alive as gathering place for openings and many art events, just like a good LA garden,’ adds Yantrasast. §

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