Hinge Point

The museum’s motto could be, “Walls don’t stay up forever.”

First, a little Duolingo. Wende is the German word for “change” or “turning point.” And the Wende Museum in Culver City, though ostensibly an archive of the Cold War, is a living testament to that inevitability. The museum’s motto could be, “Walls don’t stay up forever.” For an architect, Brian Wickersham, founder of AUX Architecture, is oddly comfortable with that metaphor. His design for the Wende’s new Glorya Kaufman Creative Community Center—a terraced, three-level, 7,500-square-foot space for performances, gatherings, special exhibitions, and eventually, a residency for refugee artists—speaks to a physical and poetic flexibility. Wickersham and Wende’s founder/executive director, Justinian Jampol, conceived the design as a Swiss Army knife, shape-shifting to accommodate numerous unforeseen functions while existing as a compact, aesthetic whole. Continuing the visual language of the Wende’s 1940s-era armory facility next door and dipping into Brutalist references dripping with Cold War concrete, the Kaufman nonetheless mostly forgoes bunker body language. Rather,…

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