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Designs for Broad Museum Focus on 'The Veil' and 'The Vault'

By Lauren Mattia and Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, January 06, 2011, at 10:15AM
The Broad Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The design for The Broad opens at 2nd and Grand, where guests are led onto an escalator that takes them up to the third-floor gallery.

Today a Downtown crowd got its first look at renderings for The Broad, the $130-million Bunker Hill museum that will be built to house Eli Broad's 2,000-piece collection of contemporary art.

The design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro focuses on "the veil" and "the vault" — the honeycomb lattice that will comprise the exterior of the building and the second-floor space that will house the majority of the collection not on display.

Visitors to the structure will enter at 2nd and Grand, taking an escalator ride up through the building's second-floor archive vault to the 40,000-square-foot gallery space above. The column-free design is touted as providing almost an acre of uninterrupted space, allowing maximum flexibility for the art displays.

“Our goal for the museum is to hold its ground next to Gehry’s much larger and very exuberant Walt Disney Concert Hall through contrast,” said architect Elizabeth Diller in a press release. “As opposed to Disney Hall’s smooth and shiny exterior that reflects light, The Broad will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into its public spaces and galleries. The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.”

Today’s press conference revealed in-depth architectural plans to over 200 city officials at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Speaking first was Eli Broad himself, who thanked his wife of 56 years, who is also the co-founder of the Broad Art Foundation. Broad also thanked the mayor, who he called “a champion of the arts.” Broad also introduced the 12 member board for the museum, 11 of whom were present for the conference.

Villaraigosa noted that the Broads were “a part of the fabric of the city,” and that years ago, Broad “talked about the dream of Disney Hall, which seemed like a pipe dream.” The Concert Hall opened in 2003. Broad believes his namesake museum will open its doors in early 2013.

Following Villaraigosa was Councilwoman Jan Perry, who hailed the renderings as “an inspiration to us all,” and thanked the Broads “for their precious gift.”

Community Redevelopment Agency Chairman Ken Fearn assured guests that the collaboration will “bring another cultural icon to Los Angeles.” Fearn stressed the revitalization that the museum will stimulate, commenting that its development will create 1300 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs. He also stated that a parking facility under the museum will help the surrounding area.

Liz Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro presented the renderings, who said that her company was challenged with the “great responsibility to provide a sound home for the [Broad] collection,” and added that they stayed close to the original vision of the Bunker Hill area while planning to offer an interesting contrast to the architectural icon that is Walt Disney Hall. Renderings show the Broad museum with a matte, porous structure that Diller said will contrast with the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s smooth, metallic lines.

The architect also said that the sidewalk adjacent to the museum would be widened to accommodate the 200,000 visitors the museum is projected to receive yearly.

Broad said that construction is set to begin by mid 2011, with a projected opening in early 2013. The Broad museum's inaugural exhibition will feature 200 of the Broad collection's most memorable works from the 1950s onward.

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