The Broad is an artful addition to downtown L.A.
Eli Broad has long been a considerable force in the cultural scene of Los Angeles. Having been invested in arts since the 70's, the philanthropist entrepreneur was a founding chairman of LA's Museum of Contemporary Art. Together with his wife, Edythe Broad they created the Broad Art Foundation in 1984, which has a massive collection of post-war art, from world-renowned artists like John Baldessari, Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat. To house the grand collection of modern and contemporary pieces, the Broads are financing a $140 million gallery in downtown LA.
The Broad is located on the city's Grand Avenue, in close proximity to Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Broads tasked Diller Scofidio + Renfro with the design and architectural planning, whose unique design process and expertise with cultural buildings made them a great fit for the project.
The building is based on a concept dubbed 'the veil and the vault'. As The Broad will be the center for the Broad Art Foundation's lending activity, it serves as the main storage facility for the thousands of pieces in the collection. Thus, the storage space, or the vault forms a considerable part of the whole building. Instead of hiding the large, warehouse-like volume, the architects designed it as the centerpiece of the structure. The floor of the vault shapes the ceiling of the lobby, while the ceiling is the foundation of the 3rd floor gallery space. Visitors are taken through the vault both on entrance and exit, allowed to catch glimpses of the vast collection.
A porous envelope - the veil - is wrapped around the whole building, made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete with a steel substructure. The airiness lent by the honeycomb-like pattern softens the monolithic, rectangular volume of the building and provides contrast to the central concrete body. It also allows natural light to pass through, while diffusing and filtering it. The veil proved very hard to fabricate, leading to numerous delays and a lawsuit. Fortunately, everything seems to have settled with the construction, and the museum is set to open in a little over two weeks time.
The top floor hosts an entirely columnless, 4000 sqm exhibition space bathed in diffused light. A floor-to-ceiling height of 7 meters forms an immense inner volume, which is completed by the visible outside veil.
The Broad will undoubtedly be the new capital for modern and contemporary arts in Los Angeles. It's set to open in 17 days, with an inaugural exhibition featuring more than 250 works from more than 60 artists, including Jasper Johns, Barbara Kruger, Cy Twombly and more. And the best part? Admission will be totally free.
Source: Domus The Broad , Los Angeles , Gallery , Art Center , Eli Broad
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