More than getting from here to there

In the case of BCAM's exterior escalator, what goes up does not come down -- transportation is to the third-floor main entrance only, but the ride promises to be a highlight of the museum-going experience. Moving at 100 feet per minute, traveling the approximately 90-foot-long escalator takes about a minute (there's geometry involved), but its open-air sides -- no glass -- provide panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills. Architect Renzo Piano has nicknamed the escalator and its adjoining staircases and balconies "The Spider" because early sketches resembled a spider with many long legs.

BCAM's main elevator goes both up and down, and it's big: 21 feet wide, 16 feet high, 9 feet deep, with glass doors providing northern-exposure views. Designed to accommodate large artworks, the space should provide the feeling of being in a living room. Art will also be part of the experience: Visible to elevator riders will be a piece by Barbara Kruger that lines the elevator shaft as a sort of wallpaper, featuring plenty of dramatic red, black and white.

-- Diane Haithman

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