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L.A. | Art wears a lace veil: The Broad Museum

Place: Los Angeles, Country: United States
Client: The Broad Art Foundation
Architectural design:
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Text by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit
Images courtesy of The Broad Museum
For photo credits, see captions

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Photo from the exhibition “Sempering”, Triennale di Milano, 2016

Los Angeles | Art wears its lace veil – The Broad Museum by Diller, Scofidio+Renfro
by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit

The Broad, a new contemporary art museum envisioned by Eli and Edythe Broad, opened on September 20, 2015, at an exceptional location on Los Angeles’ Grand Avenue, close to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

The Broad museum Los Angeles aerial

Aerial photo of The Broad (left) and Walt Disney Concert Hall (right) in Downtown Los Angeles; photo by Jeff Duran / Warren Air, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Broad museum Los Angeles exterior night

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top:  View of The Broad museum from the corner of 2 Street and Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles; photo by Iwan Baan; Bottom: original rendering of the museum exterior. All images courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Eli and Edythe Broad are among those rare individuals who perfectly embody the meaning of the term “philanthropist”. For five decades, they have supported and fostered education, scientific and medical research, and civic initiatives. But art has always had a special attraction for them. They have assembled two of the most important private collections of contemporary art in the world, helped develop institutions such as MOMA in New York; in Los Angeles, MOCA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Broad Art Center at UCLA; and created the recently opened Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

The Broad museum Los Angeles collection storage

Painting screens in one of The Broad’s collection storage areas; photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Nevertheless, a proper home was needed for the impressive and still growing collection of post-war and contemporary art of the Broad Art Foundation. The collection comprises more than 2,000 works, including masterpieces by artists such as Jasper Johns, Beuys, Basquiat, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Richard Serra, Damien Hirst, Christopher Wool, Cy Twombly, Yayoi Kusama and Jeff Wall, just to a name a few.
The Broad is the brand new home for the collection.

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The Broad museum Los Angeles facade detail

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From top to bottom: Aerial view of The Broad; Facade detail, photo by Iwan Baan; In 2014, a construction worker is inspecting pieces of The Broad’s veil; photo by Matt Ostrow; All images of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Architecture
The museum’s building was conceived by design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, employing a unique concept, called “the veil and the vault”.

The vault is a “cavernous” space that accommodates the artworks storage, laboratories, and curatorial offices; different from most museums, this area is not secluded from the visitor’s view; it fills the middle of the building, almost “floating” over the lobby level underneath.

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The Broad museum Los Angeles veil interior

From top to bottom: Illustration of the two main components of the building: the veil and the vault. Slice-through of the museum showing the three floors and the cantilevered portions of the second and third floors. Detail of the veil, photo by Gary Leonard; Detail of The Broad museum’s third floor gallery; photo © Hufton + Crow, All images courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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Photo from the exhibition “Sempering”, Triennale di Milano, 2016

Visitors, after passing through the entrance area, reach the impressive column-free exhibition gallery on the top floor by traversing through the concrete vault on a long escalator.
Emerging in the exhibition gallery, the other main element of the design can be fully appreciated: the veil is a translucent envelope, a “porous exoskeleton”, as DS+R define it, which wraps the entire building, filtering and transmitting daylight to the indoor space. This skin is made of 2,500 rhomboidal panels, moulded of fiberglass-reinforced concrete, and supported by a steel substructure.

The Broad museum Los Angeles lobby 01

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The Broad museum Los Angeles stairwell

From top to bottom: View of the completed lobby, photo by Iwan Baan; Original renderings of the museum’s lobby; Escalator penetrating the vault in The Broad’s lobby; photo © Hufton + Crow; The Broad’s central stair winds through the museum’s “vault”, photo by Iwan Baan; All images courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Broad’s plaza
Just outside the building, Diller Scofidio + Renfro have created a new outdoor public space; it includes a restaurant and a public garden, bordered by an exceptional grove of 100-year-old olive trees.

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The Broad Plaza LA olive grove

Top: another view of the museum’s lobby; bottom: the new plaza with its 100-year-old olive trees; photos by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro


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The Broad Museum
The Broad museum Los Angeles exterior night

The Broad is a new 120,000 square-foot museum of modern and contemporary art in Downtown Los Angeles, next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the MOCA


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