The veil and the vault - Architecture - Domus
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad, Los Angeles, California
 

The veil and the vault

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro to host nearly 2,000 works of art in The Broad Art Foundation and the Broads’ personal collections, The Broad museum features a “vault” that, rather than relegate the storage to secondary status, plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit.

 

Architecture

The Broad is a new contemporary art museum being by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will open in 2015. The museum will be home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in The Broad Art Foundation and the Broads’ personal collections, which are among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide.

With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 11,000-square-meter building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collections and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. The Broad is also building a public plaza adjacent to the museum to add another parcel of critical green space to Grand Avenue.

Aerial photo of The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles: Photo by Jeff Duran / Warren Air, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Top: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad museum, on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Photo Benny Chan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Above: Aerial photo of The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles: Photo by Jeff Duran / Warren Air, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key programs of the building: public exhibition space and the storage that will support The Broad Art Foundation’s extensive lending activities. Rather than relegate the storage to secondary status, “the vault” plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit. Its heavy opaque mass is always in view, hovering midway in the building.

Its carved underside shapes the lobby below and public circulation routes. Its top surface is the floor of the third floor galleries. The vault is enveloped by the “veil,” a porous, honeycomb-like, exterior structure that spans across the block-long building and provides filtered natural daylight. The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into an active lobby. The public is then drawn upwards via escalator, tunneling through the vault, arriving onto nearly a 4000 sqm of column-free gallery space bathed in diffuse light. The gallery has 7-meter-high ceilings, and the roof is supported by 2-meter-deep steel girders. Departure from the third floor gallery space is a return trip through the vault via a winding central stair that offers glimpses into the vast holdings of the collection.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad museum, on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad museum, on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Public amenities associated with The Broad include an adjacent 2,200-square-meter public plaza, a new restaurant being developed by restaurateur Bill Chait, a new mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk connecting The Broad and public plaza with MOCA and the Colburn School and additional streetscape improvements.

The plaza’s bosque of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees and grass create public space for picnics, outdoor films, performances and educational events.


The Broad, Los Angeles, California
Program: museum
Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Executive Architect: Gensler
Construction: MATT Construction
Structural Engineer: Nabih Youssef & Associates, Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire, Life-Safety and Gallery: ARUP
Lighting Engineers: ARUP
Lighting Design: Tillotson Design
Collection Storage: Solomon + Bauer
Cost: $140 million
Area: 11,000 sqm
Completion: August 2015