MSU Broad, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Formerly known as Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MSU Broad is a contemporary art museum part of Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Opened in 2012, the museum is housed in an iconic 46,000-square-foot building designed by Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, easily recognizable by its peculiar pleated stainless steel envelope.
Cover image: exterior view of the MSU Broad museum. Photo by Iwan Baan
The program of activities of MSU Broad mostly features temporary exhibitions focused on various disciplines related to contemporary art and creativity – including painting, sculpture, installations, new media, photography, and architecture. MSU Broad also has a study collection, with artworks dating from Ancient Greece to modern times, which is used primarily to historically and artistically contextualize contemporary arts.
Along with exhibition spaces, the museum also contains an educational facility, a works-on-paper study center, administration offices, a cafe, and a book and gift shop; together with a public plaza and a sculpture garden.
The building of the MSU Broad is fully accessible to physically impaired people.
Photo by Paul Warchol.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University by Zaha Hadid
Vibrant is a fascinating word. It can be used to describe people, such as Eli and Edythe Broad; institutions, such as Michigan State University, and can be applied to buildings as well.
It is the exact definition that comes to mind when looking at the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Realized in 2012 thanks to a donation by philanthropists and art enthusiasts Eli and Edythe Broad, this contemporary art museum is hard to confuse with any other. Its pleated stainless steel panels give it a quite peculiar appearance, intended to “reflect the topographic and circulatory characteristics of its surrounding landscape. Its outer skin echoes these different directions and orientations – giving the building an ever-changing appearance that arouses curiosity yet never quite reveals its content.“ (Zaha Hadid Architects).
Top and bottom: photos by Paul Warchol; middle: photo by Iwan Baan
The building is located on the northern edge of the MSU campus, facing Grand River Avenue, thus acting both physically and ideally as a connection between the campus, with its brick buildings and quiet areas crossed by footpaths, and the adjacent urban landscape.
The reflective skin of the building copes with these different kinds of perceptions, by reflecting them in various ways, depending on the time of day, season, and weather conditions, and somehow manipulating and incorporating their essence into the museum.
Photos by Iwan Baan
On a floor area of 46,000 square feet, divided into three levels, the museum includes exhibition spaces, an educational facility, a works-on-paper study center, administration offices, a café, and a shop; as well as a public plaza and a sculpture garden.
Internally, more “introflexed” spaces alternate to areas when the visual relationship with the surrounding, through the pleated envelope, is evident; this is the case of the lobby, the education wing, and the One West Gallery, an impressive double-height space, suitable for large artworks and installations.
The MSU Broad building; rendering of the interior, longitudinal section, and ground floor plan; images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
Top-left: photo by Iwan Baan; top-right: photo by Paul Warchol; middle and bottom: photos by Iwan Baan
The MSU Broad activity is primarily aimed to present the various aspects and means of expression of contemporary art, including new media and photography in a “place where artists’ ideas, words, and actions create a vibrant center for questioning and understanding the modern world”*.
This manifold approach to contemporary culture and the museum’s attitude to work not simply as an exhibition facility but also as an experimentation and study center is fully expressed by the MSU Broad study collection. Indeed, the collection includes pieces ranging from Ancient Greece to Renaissance to Modernity, so to help relate contemporary art research to a historical context and to reinforce the role of the Broad MSU as “a laboratory for the new, grounded in a deep appreciation for the historical”*.
* from the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University Fact Sheet
Top and middle-up: photos by Iwan Baan; middle-down and bottom: photos by Paul Warchol.
Images courtesy of MSU Broad and Zaha Hadid Architects.
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