The Broad is a museum and storage facility for the Broad family collection of contemporary art and a key component of downtown Los Angeles’ revitalization. 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 supports 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.
Urbanistically, The Broad occupies a key component in the downtown revitalization plan for Los Angeles. Sited next to Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad responds to the architectural hegemony of its context; the building’s fabric is porous and absorptive, its rectilinear form poised and calculated.
Photo credits: Iwan Baan, Jeff Duran - Warren Air, Benny Chan.