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The Broad Museum

The Broad is designed by world-renowned architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140 million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase the Broad’s comprehensive collection and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-03-flickr-Joshua-Gunther-759x761 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© flickr-Joshua Gunther

A striking museum for Eli and Edythe Broad to display and store their outstanding art collection. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the project is located in the midst of such Downtown Los Angeles landmarks as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and The Grand, both designed by Frank Gehry; MOCA, designed by Arata Isozaki; and the Colburn School, designed by Hardy Holzman and Pfeiffer.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-05-Hufton-Crow-759x341 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Hufton + Crow

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-07-Iwan-Baan-759x506 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

Visitors enter the museum at ground level, take an escalator bathed in natural light to the top-floor galleries, and return via a staircase that provides views into the storage facilities on the first and second floor. The museum’s archival function and its distinctive design—a complex covering of interconnecting concrete trapezoids–have given rise to the nickname “the veil and the vault.” The three story museum sits atop a subterranean parking structure.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-08-Iwan-Baan-759x450 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

The museum’s 120,000 square foot facility provides approximately 50,000 sq. ft. of gallery space on two floors—sufficient to exhibit approximately 300 of the Broads’ 2,000 work collection at any one time. The galleries provide wide open, column free space that takes full advantage of natural light entering via skylights and windows. Other public spaces include a lecture hall for up to 200 people; a lobby with display space; and a museum shop. Aside from some office space, much of the remainder is devoted to art storage, to maintain any pieces of the collection not on display or on loan to other institutions. Additionally, the museum offers research and study facilities, including a state-of-the-art archive.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-11-The-Broad-Museum-759x506 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© The Broad Museum

The Design:

DS+R’s extraordinary “veil-and-vault” concept features two floors of public gallery space to showcase contemporary art and a central “vault” to house the collections. The third floor gallery boasts nearly an acre of column-free space to display artworks from the collections. With the first floor gallery for special exhibitions, the museum will have more than 50,000-square-feet of exhibition space.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-15-Iwan-Baan-759x450 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

“Our goal has been to honor the responsibilities of the museum as a collecting institution by making the curatorial functions visible front and center, rather than hiding them away as in most museums,” said Elizabeth Diller, co-founder and principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. “The central mass that we call the vault, housing the collection storage and staff offices, seems to hover in the middle of the building.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-20-The-Broad-Museum-759x506 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© The Broad Museum

The porous exoskeleton that we call the veil admits filtered natural daylight. Compared to Disney Hall’s smooth and shiny exterior, which reflects light, The Broad is porous and absorptive, channeling light into the public spaces and galleries. We hope the design will contribute to the urbanization of downtown Los Angeles, activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.”

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-25-Hufton-Crow-759x882 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Hufton + Crow

Upon entering the lobby, visitors will travel up a 105-foot escalator, through the second floor concrete vault, and emerge into the third-floor gallery that features 23- foot ceilings and 318 skylights that filter in diffused sunlight. Upon exiting the gallery, most visitors will descend through the central stairwell that will offer glimpses into the second floor storage, giving a hint of the artworks that may be displayed in future exhibitions.

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© The Broad Museum

  • The “veil” is a structural exoskeleton made of 2,500 fiberglass reinforced concrete panels and 650 tons of steel that “drape” over the building and seems to lift up at the south and north corners to define two street-level entrances.

The Broad also features an adjacent 24,000-square-foot outdoor public plaza designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that will be completed in November 2014 in advance of the museum’s debut. Stretching from Hope Street to Grand Avenue, the plaza will add a rare and unique parcel of green space to downtown’s cultural corridor. DS+R’s design features a grove of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees and a large lawn, as well as enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue, making downtown more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-41-flickr-Angie-McMonigal-801x1200 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© flickr-Angie McMonigal

On its western end, the plaza will feature a free-standing restaurant that is being developed in partnership with Bill Chait and his company Sprout. A native Angeleno, Chait has developed and operated a number of successful L.A. restaurants, including the nationally acclaimed pop-up restaurant Test Kitchen, République with celebrated chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke, and Bestia. The chef of the restaurant will be Timothy Hollingsworth, former chef de cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.

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© The Broad Museum

Diller Scofidio + Renfro:

The Broad is a new contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will soon be open. The museum will be home to the nearly 2,000 works of art in The Broad Art Foundation and the Broads’ personal collections, which are among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and- vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collections and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. The Broad is also building a 24,000-square-foot public plaza adjacent to the museum to add another parcel of critical green space to Grand Avenue.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-63-flickr-Joshua-Gunther-759x427 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© flickr-Joshua Gunther

Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key components of the building: public exhibition space and collection storage. Rather than relegate the 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, while its top surface is the floor plate of the exhibition space. The vault stores the portions of the collection not on display in the galleries or on loan, but DS+R provided viewing windows so visitors can get a sense of the intensive depth of the collection and peer right into the storage holding. The vault is enveloped on all sides by the “veil,” an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans across the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-65-flickr-Joshua-Gunther-759x506 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© flickr-Joshua Gunther

The Broad targets LEED Silver certification. With its electric car charging stations, bike parking spaces, rooftop drains routed to street level gardens that filter runoff, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures that help reduce water use by 40 percent, and its easy access to public transit including adjacency to the new Metro Regional Connector station at the corner of 2nd Street and Hope Street, The Broad aims to be in the top tier of eco-conscious and efficient museums.

The-Broad-Museum-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-66-Jeff-Duran-Warren-Air-759x506 The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Jeff Duran-Warren Air

Project Data:

Project name: The Broad
Location: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California 90012, United States
Coordinates: 34.054483, -118.250525
Type: Museum
Project Area: 120,000 sq.ft

  • Gallery space: 50,000 sq.ft
  • Collection storage space: 21,000 sq.ft
  • Public plaza: 24,000 sq.ft
  • Subterranean parking: 155,000 sq.ft

Status: Built
Cost: $140 million
Completion Year: September 2015
Visit The Broad Museum’s website: here


  • 2016 – WAN Awards – Category: Civic Buildings – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: The Broad Art Foundation
Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro – 601 W 26th St #1815, New York, NY 10001, United States
Executive Architects: Gensler

Project Team:

  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro Team: Elizabeth Diller, Principal-in-Charge; Ricardo Scofidio and Charles Renfro, Principal Designers; Kevin Rice, Project Director; Team: Kumar Atre, Oskar Arnorsson, Ryan Botts, John Chow, Gerardo Ciprian, Robert Condon, Zachary Cooley, Charles Curran, Robert Donnelly, Eliza Higgins, Christopher Hillyard, Michael Hundsnurscher, Matthew Johnson, Robert Loken, Nkiru Mokwe, William Ngo, Matthew Ostrow, Haruka Saito, Daniel Sakai, Andrea Schelly, Anne-Rachel Schiffmann, Zoe Small, Quang Truong
  • Gensler Team: Rob Jernigan, Principal-in-Charge; David Pakshong, Project Director; Wendi Gilbert, Project Architect; Team: Brianna Seabron, Nora Gordon, Greg Kromhout, Yasushi Ishida, Arpy Hatzikian, Marty Borko, Philippe Pare, Robyn Bisbee, Melanie McArtor, Patrice Hironimus, Valentin Lieu, Yupil Chon, Brenda Wentworth, Jae Rodriguez, Robert Garlipp, Jay Hardin, Alexis Denis, Ricardo Moura, Lauren Gropper, Steven Hergert, Pavlina Williams, Evangelique Zhao

Executive Architect (Plaza): Adamson Associates
Executive Architect (Garage): IDG Parkitects
Landscape Architect: Hood Design
Construction: MATT Construction
Structural Engineers (Museum and Garage): Nabih Youssef and Associates; Leslie E. Robertson Associates
Structural Engineers (Plaza): Saiful / Bouquet Structural Engineers
Lighting Engineers (Galleries): ARUP
Lighting Design (exclusive of galleries): Tillotson Design
Civil Engineers: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Vertical Transportation: Lerch Bates Associates
Collection Storage: Solomon + Bauer + Giambastiani Architects
Security: Ducibella Venter + Santore
Waterproofing: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Graphic Design: 2 x 4

Text Description: © Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad Museum, MATT Construction
Images: © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad Museum, Benny Chan, Iwan Baan, Jeff Duran-Warren Air, Hufton + Crow, flickr-Joshua Gunther, flickr-Didier Leroi, flickr-Jay Sterling Austin, flickr-Angie McMonigal

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The Broad Museum / Diller Scofidio + Renfro
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