A gleaming new, expanded Santa Monica Museum of Flying will open at the end of the month at the a decade after its doors closed "temporarily."
Located behind the DC-3 monument erected in 2009, the new 22,000-square-foot museum looks a lot like a hangar. It was built of prefab steel and features nearly two dozen aircraft, including the nose of a FedEx 727 that juts out of the building at the frontage road along Aviation Avenue.
It will officially reopen Feb. 25 after closing temporarily in 2002 due to reported financial woes and internal staffing problems. It originally opened in April 1989. When it closed 10 years ago, the collection and many of the aircraft were stored in hangars at the Santa Monica Airport or were loaned to other museums.
The remodeling project was estimated to cost $4 million.
LA Weekly arts blogger Wendy Gilmartin slammed its look Tuesday, calling it "fugly," a hybrid of ugly and an expletive.
She argues that in spite of the recent renovation and expansion, its architecture is "a testament to how tired" the aesthetics of industrial buildings have become.
Here's an excerpt from Gilmartin's blog:
The existing building at 3100 Airport Avenue was increased in size by a whopping 8,000 square feet with a prefab steel building extension brought in to join the main building to an existing strip of hangars at the back of the lot....
Sadly, this brand-spanking-new renovation (though you'd never know it from out front, except for maybe the construction pylons) offers very little besides vast, gray walls of rippling metal that melt into the sky on a gray day, and make the building a pallid backdrop for the cars parked in the front parking lot. Initial renderings by Anaheim-based Solberg Architects showed a slightly snazzier color scheme that has failed to materialize. It's a shame, and makes you want to slip this metal-clad, snooze-fest some Zoloft.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 25. Admission will be discounted to $5.
Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students (with ID), and $6 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and under are free. It's at 3100 Airport Ave. on the south side of the historic Santa Monica Airport.