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Thom Mayne museum building still a go in Dallas

May 22, 2009 |  4:00 am

ThomMayne With many a cultural construction project having gone from the pipeline to a pipe dream since summer, enough cash continues to flow in Dallas for Santa Monica architect Thom Mayne to remain on track to create what would be his first museum building.

Officials at Dallas' Museum of Nature & Science have hired a construction company for the 160,000-square-foot new exhibition building and remain on track to break ground late this year, with a planned opening in 2013. The museum has yet to release a rendering of the design concept. It says it raised $9 million from May 2008 to the end of last year, bringing the total to $115 million, with a goal of $155 million. The biggest chunk, $50 million, came from the children of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, securing naming rights for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science.

Mayne, who won architecture's highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, in 2005, once had hopes of debuting as a museum designer close to his home turf.

But his design for a new downtown L.A. home for the Children's Museum of Los Angeles never was built, ChildrensMuseum and a separate building by a different architect at Hansen Dam Recreational Area in the San Fernando Valley is in limbo, with the museum organization's bankruptcy filing last month.

The economic meltdown has prompted the Orange County Museum of Art temporarily to suspend fundraising for a Mayne-designed building next to the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, which would replace its current crowded quarters in Newport Beach.

The eyes of cultural-venue starchitecture fans have an additional reason to light upon Dallas: The multiple-venue Dallas Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to open in October, with an opera house by Norman Foster and a 600-seat theater co-designed Rem Koolhaas. A nine-year campaign has raised $335 million, $19 million short of its goal.

-- Mike Boehm

Top photo: Thom Mayne. Credit: Ric Francis / AP

Bottom photo:  Mayne's design for a Children's Museum in downtown L.A., seen here in a computer-generated image, was never built. Credit: Morphosis.