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Peter Zumthor
A glimpse inside LACMA's hidden Damascus room before its 2016 debut
A glimpse inside LACMA's hidden Damascus room before its 2016 debut

In the late 1970s, the Syrian capital of Damascus was experiencing a building boom. In the al-Bahsa quarter, for instance, a clutch of old houses were demolished to make way for a new roadway. Among the homes: an 18th century courtyard house with at least one  elaborate reception room crafted from hand-painted wood panels and inlaid stone. Before the house was destroyed, a Lebanese dealer bought the contents of the room — floors, fountain and wood panels — and for roughly three decades, warehoused them in Beirut, where they somehow managed to survive the Lebanese Civil War. That room is now part of the permanent collection at the L.A. County...

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