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07.02.2014
Broad Problems
Philanthropist sues Seele over problematic facade at Los Angeles museum.
Rendering of The Broad's honeycomb facade and roof.
Courtesy DS+R / The Broad Foundation

In a recent interview, Diller Scofidio + Renfro Senior Associate Kevin Rice told AN that the Broad Museum’s “veil,” a facade made of hundreds of molded GFRC panels, had been delayed by over a year. “Some of the things took longer to make than they thought, but there aren’t really problems with it,” he said. But it looks like the issues are more severe than initially thought.

The Broad Collection and contractor Matt Construction are suing Seele, the engineer of the facade, seeking $19.8 million in damages relating to the delay. Other damages, according to the complaint, include breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and fraud and deceit. Seele has in the past worked on the London Olympic Stadium, on OMA’s Seattle Central Library, and on Herzog & DeMeuron’s “Bird’s Nest” for the Beijing Olympics.

 

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Seele “violated the important ‘aesthetic aspect’ of the architect’s design,” and its mockups were “unsightly and wholly unacceptable for use on the project.” As a result, the firm was not able to meet its October 2013 deadline to design, fabricate, and install the facade, delaying the project’s timeline.

Approved GFRC Mockup for the broad (Matt construction) 
 

The Broad’s lawsuit also names Zurich American Insurance Company and Fidelity and Deposit Company—backers of a bond guaranteeing Seele’s work—as defendants.

“Seele did not possess the necessary skill, experience, resources, commitment, or ability to perform the work at The Broad museum,” states the complaint. Broad Foundation spokesperson Karen Denne told AN, “we’re not commenting—the lawsuit speaks for itself.”

As of now the $130 million museum, located just south of Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, is still set to open in 2015, but the exact date remains up in the air. When completed, the museum will be home to the Broad Collection’s stable of over 2,000 contemporary artworks, as well as offices for the Broad Foundation.

Sam Lubell