Founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, The Broad is a contemporary art museum designed by Diller Scofidioi+Renfro. The museum was opened in September 2015 to the public and offers free admission. It covers an area of 1,20,000 sq ft and houses the Broad collection with 2000 artworks from postwar and worldwide contemporary art.
The Broad museum has launched a temporary rotating exhibition format that is intriguing and engages the audience. It is a two-floor gallery space and the headquarters of The Broad’s Art Foundation. Broad Art Foundation is a lending library that has loaned a collection of artworks to several museums worldwide since 1984. The museum attracted thrice the projected visitors in its inaugural year and has hosted 1.7 million visitors ever since.
The Broad follows the concept of the Veil and the vault by merging the two major functions of the building: public exhibition space and storage space. Instead of assigning a secondary spot to the storage space used for broad foundation lending purposes, the Vault is incorporated as a major design element that affects the experience of the built-form from entry to exit. The opaque and heavy vault with carved underside shapes is seen hovering in the middle of the structure. The top side of the vault serves as the floorplate of the third-floor galleries.
The Veil is a porous, honeycomb-like structure that is wrapped around the vault spanning across the third floor and pouring in filtered daylight. It is lifted at the corners to lead the visitors to the shop and lobby area. The upper floor is an acre of gallery space built without columns and accessed through the escalator tunnelled into the vault. The column-free space is 23 feet high and is supported by 7-ft deep steel girders.
Design of The broad is oriented towards an eco-conscious and energy-efficient design with a LEED Gold certification. The sustainable features of the building include electric car charging stations, rooftop drains directed towards street-level gardens that filter runoff, bike parking spaces, and plumbing fixtures that help reduce the water usage by 40 percent. It is located adjacent to the new Metro Regional Connector station at the corner of 2nd and Hope streets which provides ease of access to the visitors.
Any grand architectural creation creates an impact on the urban fabric of the area and so is the case of The Broad. It has increased the pedestrian movement along Grand avenue and development in street life is experienced with more food trucks and musicians popping up every day. The nearby restaurants have extended their working hours and all these changes have benefited the local community extensively.
Another intriguing feature of this project is the kind of diverse visitors it is attracting for an art museum. The Broad is symbolic of the ethnic diversity of the people of California and their interest in contemporary art. The ethnically varying visitors are three times more than the other museums which are way more than the initial expectations.