MATT Relocates Iconic Lipchitz Peace On Earth Statue in Downtown Los Angeles

MATT Construction works with The Music Center to move a 60-year-old, 15-ton bronze Lipchitz statue across the plaza safely

The largest sculpture renowned cubist Jacques Lipchitz ever created, the “Peace on Earth” statue has called downtown Los Angeles its home since 1969. Last July, it made its first move of over 50 years in just 15 minutes. It didn’t stray too far, landing 100 feet across on the west side of The Music Center Plaza, between a new restaurant and welcome center.

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Photo courtesy of The Music Center

MATT’s Team Uses a 500-ton Crane to relocate the 15-ton Lipchitz Statue

As an iconic piece of The Music Center’s rich history, the Lipchitz statue required the utmost care and precision in handling. MATT’s team involved Plastal, a structural steel subcontractor with extensive experience in moving large pieces at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Together, they came up with an apparatus that would do the job without damaging the bronze surface, as bronze is a soft metal and requires careful treatment. The crew rigged a steel cage frame around the monument, supported it, then hoisted it with a 500-ton crane to its new home, secured it, and removed the apparatus.

Music Center Plaza MATT Construction MCP lipchitz statue relocation peace on earth

Photo courtesy of The Music Center

Peace on Earth: A lasting legacy for Jacques Lipchitz, Dorothy Chandler and The Music Center

The statue itself, a crowning work of Jacques Lipchitz’s long career, depicts a dove hovering over the spirit of peace as represented by the Madonna, who stands inside an open teardrop being lowered to earth. It was always intended to be a focal point of the pavilion, so the design team preserved its positioning as an aesthetic draw in a revivified community gathering space. For the artist and for Dorothy Chandler, the sculpture represents a strong sentiment against senseless violence and a wish for solidarity and community. Chandler’s hope for The Music Center was to be a living memorial to peace. The statue embodies that wish.

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Renovating The Music Center Plaza while keeping the peace

The entire plaza is undergoing a transformation that echoes the original intent. As Howard Sherman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The Music Center notes, “The whole beauty of the plaza project is that we really are taking a 1960s concept of creating a great city and gathering place for the entire community and translating that into 2018.” MATT’s team has been undertaking the $40 million revitalization of the space, working closely with The Music Center and architect Rios Clementi Hale to preserve the original architect’s vision. Welton Becket, one of the most influential mid-century architects living in LA, created a facility that went on to become one of the city’s most visited destinations. Sherman reflects that, “Our job is to steward, to make sure that we’re using the space as intended, so in 50 years it will still be relevant.”


A message to future generations hidden inside the Lipchitz statue

As a secret surprise for future generations, Music Center staff slipped a time capsule into the granite that encases the statue’s base. If one day, another ambitious team decides to relocate the sculpture, that team will have to take the base apart. There, they will discover a flock of origami cranes holding wishes for a future world of fellowship and harmonious coexistence, as well as facts about The Music Center’s history and about Lipchitz, the visionary himself.

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