When The Broad opens to the public on September 20, Angelenos will finally get to see how Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design compliments philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad’s powerhouse collection of 2,000 pieces of contemporary art in their eponymous museum. Works by Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman will hang in the 35,000-square-foot, column-free gallery space lit by some 300 skylights.
Expectations are high for the $140 million dollar building, but from what we’ve seen and heard, the architecture is refined and detail-oriented. Or, as DS+R architect Kevin Rice said of Eli Broad, “I’ve never worked with another billionaire so interested in bathroom fixtures.”
While the opening of a new building is always a thrill, AN has been tracking this feat of design, engineering, and curatorial might almost since its inception and we thought we’d share some of the highlights along the way.
Architectural journalist Sam Lubell spoke with DS+R’s Kevin Rice and got a behind-the-scenes preview of the museum. He asked Rice about design goals for the adjacent public space. “The last thing we wanted was another dead corporate plaza that gets filled at lunchtime and has tumbleweeds flying around the rest of the time,” said Rice. “We wanted something that people would want to come back to throughout the day.”
Late last year, AN talked with Broad Art Foundation Director Joanne Heyler to learn how the arts community was reacting to the new architecture. “The building is very sculptural because the Vault form [which contains the museum’s collection] creates the heart of the building,” said Heyler. “I’ve taken artists to see the collection inside and gotten an incredibly enthusiastic response.”
“No amount of architecture will transform Bunker Hill,” said architecture critic and curator Greg Goldin in his comment that drew attention to the lackluster urban condition along Grand Avenue. While Eli Broad has an ambition to make the street into a boulevard, Goldin questions redevelopment efforts going back decades that have wiped out topography and displaced population. “Broad’s obsession with having architects strut their stuff has obscured the need for a considered response to the city itself—with varied program and a welcoming streetscape—not one street-top civic center,” he wrote.
Lastly, why not show OMA’s similar, but not winning proposal? Rem Koolhaas’s firm proposed a “floating” box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue.