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An Eye On Design:

February 27, 2014

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The Veil and the Vault: The Art of Architecture

March 24, 2016

- The Broad Museum - 

Downtown LA's Newest Art Museum 


Located in downtown Los Angeles on Grand Avenue, down the street from the Disney Concert Hall and across the street from the MOCA, the Broad museum is LA’s newest contemporary art museum. It was founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and designed by the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler in 2015. It's doors opened to the public late September 2015 and houses a collection of 2000 pieces of post-war and contemporary art. 


The Broad Museum has a very interesting structure, much more contemporary than my usual taste, however fitting for the art is holds inside.


The outer honeycomb like structure of the building allows for light to be distributed throughout the space, while avoiding the harsh effects of natural light on any of the works of art it holds inside. This makes for great ambient day lighting as you peruse the upper galleries, making the structure in-and-of-itself very functional. 


One of my favorite areas of the museum would have to be the lobby. I love how the ceiling plays with natural forms and a cave-like atmosphere that begins outsides of the ‘true’ interior space, but passes through the wall of glass and into the interior of the lobby (pictured below). Within this space it has a few playful sculptures, including a stack of large plates and a melting lamp post. 


Another inspired aspect of the gallery is the ‘peek-a’-boo’ windows that allow you to see into the art vault on your way down the stairs, which gives viewers a great idea of the size of the collection not currently on display in the galleries.


- Form and Function - 


Dubbed by its creators “the veil and the vault,” the Broad Museum’s design combines two components that make this an apt description for the building. The function of the museum was intended for public exhibition space (clearly), but also for the collection and storage of contemporary art.


Instead of demoting the storage to secondary status where it would be hidden from the public completely, the “vault” as I stated before, plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit by allowing peeks into the space. The grey carved underside of the vault shapes the lobby below (the cave I mentioned), while its top surface is the floor plate of the exhibition space above. The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” the airy, white honeycomb-like structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.


The exterior ‘honeycomb structure is made of 2,500 rhomboidal panels made in fiberglass reinforced concrete supported by a 650-ton steel substructure.


“The vault” – interior structure is made of a concrete body, which forms the core of the building. Its heavy opaque mass is always in view, hovering midway in the building. The Broad is 120,000-square-foot, cost $140 million to build the two floors of gallery spaces, artwork storage, laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices, and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. 


With a thorough representations of influential contemporary artists like Barbara Kruger, Christopher Wool, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Jasper Johns, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, and more, plus a growing collecting of the works of younger artists, the museum's interesting collection of contemporary art and its innovative architecture, the Board is surely not to be missed. 


It's open Tuesday through Sunday, though hours vary depending on the day (10am on its earliest days, 8pm on its latest closing nights). Check out the Broad's website for more specifics. 


General admission to the museum is free, however grab advanced general admissions tickets online to avoid the constant stream of visitors waiting in the stand-by line to get in (which is first come, first served). Another tip, advanced admissions tickets tend to sellout, so plan accordingly. There are also special exhibitions coming this fall, tickets will be $12 for adults and free for youth 17 years old and younger. So, keep your eye open for that.



To find out more about the Broad Museum visit its website at: http://www.thebroad.org/ 




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