los angeles: the broad museum opening

© the broad / photography: jeff duran

with the opening of the broad later this month, los angeles gains a magnificent new foothold for modern art. situated in the city's revived downtown area, opposite the stunning metal-plated homebase of the l.a. philharmonic by frank gehry, this newly built museum is to accommodate the elaborate art collection of eli and edythe broad, an influential american philanthropist couple with the prerequisite deep pockets. designed by new york-based architecture practice diller scofidio + renfro, the structure provides the broad art foundation with a-grade exhibition and storage space.

but rather than concealing the storage space, its so-called veil and vault concept lends it a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit. interestingly, the heavy opaque mass is in view all over the premises. while the carved underside shapes the lobby below and public circulation routes, the top surface is the floor of the third floor galleries. the vault is enveloped by a porous, honeycomb-like, exterior structure that spans across the building and provides filtered natural daylight. this veil elegantly lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors into the lobby.

visitors are then drawn upwards via escalator, tunneling through the vault, and arriving onto a vast, lofty gallery space flooded in diffuse light. departure from the third floor gallery space is a return trip through the vault via a winding central stair that offers glimpses into the vast holdings of the collection. and speaking of which, the broad will be home to almost 2,000 artworks of the broad art foundation, featuring more than 200 artists who range from the vanguard innovators of 1960s and 1970s, to names achieving similar distinction today. a modern and forward piece of architecture, it's not surprising that the broad simultaneously targets leed silver certification.

and it does so through a number of innovations, such as charging stations for electric cars, bike parking spaces, rooftop drains routed to street level gardens that filter runoff, and high-efficiency plumbing fixtures that help reduce water use by an impressive 40 percent. next to providing two expansive floors of exhibition space, the building's immediate surroundings will see a transformation with an adjacent public plaza with olive trees and lawns, a new fine dining venue that's being developed by hailed restaurateur bill chait, and improved access to a regional connector station nearby. location: 221 south grand avenue [downtown].

© the broad / photography: benny chan + iwan baan