Veil and the Vault: The Broad Museum in Los Angeles

by Rakks | October 21st, 2016

Broad Museum in Los Angeles

Photo by Benny Chan. Broad Museum website. Courtesy of the Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Throughout history, architecture has always been a source of inspiration. From the initial design process through the completion of a project, architecture “groupies” watch with anticipation, as an architect’s vision becomes a reality.

the veil and the vault

The main elements of The Broad’s design, the “veil” and the “vault”

The Broad Museum, the new contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles is worth a visit. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase the museum’s comprehensive collection of post-war and contemporary art and is now the new headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s global lending library.

Part of the current exhibition at the Broad Museum.

Part of the current exhibition at the Broad Museum.

Design credits go to Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) who conceived the vision and renowned architecture firm Gensler, the executive architect on the project, who made that vision a reality.

third floor gallery broad museum los angeles

The Broad Museum’s third floor galleries with skylights and interior veil. Photo by Iwan Baan, Courtesy of The Board and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Referred to as “the veil and the vault,” the museum’s design seamlessly blends two components of the building: public exhibition space and collection storage. Rather than relegate storage to number 2 status, the designers realized early on that the “vault,” plays a key role in shaping the museum experience from entry to exit.

The Broad Museum Construction Timelapse

The vault’s heavy opaque mass is always in visitor site hovering midway in the building. The lobby below emerges from underside shapes. The vault’s top surface is the floor plate of the exhibition space and stores pieces that are not on display in the galleries or on loan. DS+R provided viewing windows to the vault so visitors can get a sense of the substantial depth of the collection by peering into the storage area. All sides of the vault are enveloped by the “veil,” an airy, honeycomb-like structure that spans the block-long gallery and provides filtered natural daylight.

The Broad was founded by philanthropists Eli and Edy Broad. “It has always been our mission to introduce contemporary art to the broadest possible audience,” says Eli Broad. General admission to the Broad is Free.

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