By Kirsten Kiser
Dubbed “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design merges the two key programs of the building: public exhibition space and the storage that will support the Broad Art Foundation’s extensive lending activities.
|The Broad will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into public spaces and galleries. The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.”|
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 and public circulation routes. Its top surface is the floor of the third floor galleries.
The vault is enveloped by “the veil“ – a porous, honeycomb-like, exterior structure that spans across the block-long building and provides filtered natural daylight. The museum’s “veil” lifts at the corners, welcoming visitors and activating the lobby.
The public is then drawn upwards via an escalator that tunnels through the vault and arrives onto nearly an acre of column-free gallery space that is bathed in diffused light. The gallery has 23 foot- high ceilings, and the roof is supported by 7 foot-deep steel girders. Art installations on the third floor gallery include works by Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Sherrie Levine.
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. The Broad Art Foundation operates as a “lending library“ with works from the nearly 2,000-piece Broad collection made available to museums around the world.
The Broad also includes the Oculus Hall, a multipurpose public space on the second floor, with flexible seating capacity of up to 200. It will be used for lectures, films, performances and other public programs. It is named for its location within the oculus on the Grand Avenue facade of the building.
Public amenities associated with The Broad include an adjacent public plaza, a new restaurant, a new mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk connecting The Broad and public plaza with MOCA and the Colburn School, and additional streetscape improvements. The plaza’s bosque of 100-year-old Barouni olive trees and grass create public space for picnics, outdoor films, performances and educational events.
The veil is made primarily of 2,500 fiberglass reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels and 650 tons of steel. Supported at three points the Grand Avenue touchdown beam can rock about a central pivot point allowing the entire veil structure to slightly “see-saw” back and forth along its plane during a major earthquake. Each end of the beam is allowed to move up and down by 3/4 of an inch.
The Broad opens to the public on September 20th.