Los Angeles welcomes the newest addition to its contemporary art scene with the opening during the weekend of The Broad Museum. Commissioned by Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, the $140 million museum will showcase and store the couple’s more than 2,000-piece collection.
Designed by New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the 120,000-square-foot museum will be free to the public in hopes of making art more accessible to the masses.
Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key programs of the building: public exhibition space and the archive/storage that will support The Broad Art Foundation’s lending activities. Rather than relegate the archive/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 exhibition space.
The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, cellular exoskeleton structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight. The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into an active lobby with a bookshop and espresso bar. The public is then drawn upwards via escalator, tunneling through the archive, arriving onto an acre of column-free exhibition space bathed in diffuse light. This 24’ high space is fully flexible to be shaped into galleries according to curatorial needs. Departure from the exhibition space is a return trip through the vault via a winding stair that offers glimpses into the vast holdings of the collection.