The Broad

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, California, 2015

 

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A three-storey contemporary art museum in Downtown, Los Angeles

Sited on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, the design of The Broad presents two challenges: how does one build the storage facility required by the brief on such a prominent location; and how can a much smaller building hold its own next to a formidable neighbor such as Walt Disney Concert Hall. 

To exploit the opportunities latent in these challenges, the design was developed around two main architectural elements, the veil and the vault.  

The vault stores the 2,000-work collection, but instead of being relegated to the basement or back of house, it becomes the protagonist of the design, a hovering opaque mass, which shapes the lobby below and provides the literal ground for the galleries above.

It’s counterpart, the veil, a five-sided structure nested over the vault, acts as a foil to Disney’s exuberant form. Where Disney is reflective and metallic, the veil is matt and mineral; absorbing and controlling light through its coral-like apertures. All of the museum’s public spaces exist in the space between these two elements; all public circulation moves under, around and through the veil and the vault.

The public are welcomed from the sidewalk through the lifted corners of the veil into the lobby. An escalator, penetrating the vault, carries visitors to the third-floor gallery, arriving into nearly an acre of column-free exhibition space immersed in natural light. On completing their visit to the galleries, visitors exit via a meandering stair through the vault, which offers glimpses into the ‘pre-curated’ collection, providing a contemplative coda for the museum.

Data

  • Begun: Mar 2012
  • Completed: Sep 2015
  • Floor area: 11,148m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £90.6M
  • Procurement: Guaranteed Maximum Price
  • Address: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California, CA 90012, United States

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