AKA: MOCA Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art at California Plaza, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - museums

Designers: Gruen Associates, Architecture / Planning / Engineering (firm); Isozaki, Arata, Architect (firm); Johnson, Fain, and Partners (firm); William H. Fain Jr. (architect); Kurt Franzen (architect); Arata Isozaki (architect); R. Scott Johnson (architect); Robert L. Lesnett (architect); Ki Suh Park (architect/urban planner); Maris Peika (architect); Allen M. Rubenstein (architect)

Dates: constructed 1983-1987

3 stories

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250 South Grand Avenue
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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South Grand Avenue, southeast corner of South Grand Avenue and Kosciuszko Way


The Museum was an important inclusion in the California Plaza redevelopment plan centering on Bunker Hill and Grand Avenue. This area was to symbolize the rebirth of Downtown Los Angeles, and to underscore the city's acquisition of cultural maturity.

Building History

Designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (born 1931), renowned for his art museums, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was conceived as a part of an 11.2-acre redevelopment project overseen by a Community Development Agency created for this purpose. The museum was designed and built concurrently with the 1 California Plaza Office Building at 300 South Grand Avenue, designed by Arthur Erickson Architects and Gruen Associates. Gruen also worked as the associated architect on MOCA with Isozaki.

MOCA was one of the most heavily publicized museum designs of the 1980s, a time when many high-profile museums were being erected as tourist destinations around the world by a new generation of "starchitects."

Building Notes

In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art described itself: "Established in 1979, we are the only artist-founded museum in Los Angeles. We are dedicated to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. We house one of the most compelling collections of contemporary art in the world, comprising roughly 7000 objects, and have a diverse history of ground-breaking, historically-significant exhibitions." (See Museum of Contemporary Art.org, "Mission & History," accessed 05/28/2019.)

PCAD id: 281