The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) launched a new website on Thursday in an effort to publicly chronicle the upcoming $600 million makeover of the Wilshire Boulevard museum. The launch of BuildingLACMA.com also marked the start of the public review portion of the project, as L.A. County moves forward with a draft Environmental Impact Report preceding construction.

LACMA will raze four “inefficient, deteriorating buildings” on the museum’s East Campus and replace them with one 368,000-square-foot structure to house the museum’s permanent collection. The new structure, designed by award-winning Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, is depicted in online renderings as a curvy, window-lined structure that stretches over Wilshire Boulevard.

“After a years-long research and design effort to create the best way to make LACMA more accessible to visitors, and to forge an enhanced relationship with art and the cultural programs we offer, a truly innovative plan has emerged,” said LACMA CEO Michael Govan in an online statement. “The new design itself makes LACMA a more transparent and integrated experience, a symbol of Los Angeles’ emergence as one of the truly great art capitals of the world.”

Although the project will cut museum space by 25,000 square feet, it will open up two-and-a-half acres of outdoor area that will be filled with sculpture gardens, manicured plazas and drought-tolerant plants, according to LACMA’s new website. The redesign also includes building a new parking structure near Ogden Drive and Wilshire Boulevard. Funded in large part by private donations collected by the non-profit Museum Associates, which operates LACMA, L.A. County will foot the remaining approximately 20 percent of the bill, according to the new Building LACMA website.

The County of L.A. will host a “Scoping Meeting” at LACMA on August 24 to gather public and agency input on what should be addressed in the Environmental Impact Report. Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2018 and take five years to complete, debuting around the same time as the Metro Purple Line subway station slated for across the street.

Staff reporter Hayley Fox can be reached at hfox@labusinessjournal.com. Follow @EPfox on Twitter for the latest in L.A. news.