The recent unveiling of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Art Foundation has been generating a lot of buzz in the past couple weeks. The defining architectural element of the museum is its porous structural concrete veil which the architects hope will create an interplay between interior and exterior spaces. The Broad’s concrete skin won’t be Los Angeles’ first, however. Sitting just two miles away on Wilshire Boulevard, the American Cement Building features a mid-century veil of its own.
Designed by Salt Lake City’s Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM) in 1964, the latticework concrete facade of the 13-story American Cement Building bears a striking resemblance to that of the Broad’s. Originally home to a forward-thinking cement company, the structure has now been converted into residential lofts. The American Cement Building’s geometry conforms to the regularity characteristic of its period while the Broad’s veil morphs in a way modern computing only allows. It remains to be seen how similar the two buildings end up in the end, but the American Cement Building could offer insights into how the Broad might weather into middle age.