Inverting the 'Veil and Vault'

DS+R Expands DS+R's Broad

John Hill
28. March 2024
Exterior rendering of the future Broad expansion from Hope Street. (Visualization: Plomp © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of The Broad)

The Broad opened at the corner of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street, across the street from Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, in September 2015, five years after the office of Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin won a competition to design it. Diller was the design lead for the “veil and vault” concept: the veil referring to the 2,500 glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels wrapping all four sides of the museum, and the vault being the storage for the museum's permanent collection, sitting in the middle of the building between the lobby at grade and the gallery beneath a roof of skylights.

Yesterday's announcement was made by Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad, who said in a statement: “In the brief period since 2015, our building has become an icon in Los Angeles’s cultural and civic landscape,” having welcomed more than 5.5 million visitors to date. She continued: “With this expansion, we intend to amplify The Broad’s commitment to access for all to contemporary art, offering surprising, welcoming, and imaginative experiences that honor the diversity of our public and add to the ever-growing vitality of Grand Avenue, the area that Eli Broad believed in so strongly and that he helped transform into what it is today.”

Businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad, who died in 2021, amassed a collection of more than 2,000 artworks with his wife Edyth, leading to the erection of a museum dedicated to its storage and public display. (The storage vault also helps facilitate the lending library of the The Broad Art Foundation.) Edyth Broad said in the statement that “it is time to set the museum on course for the future. The design for our expansion by Elizabeth Diller and DS+R creates new, beautiful spaces for art while preserving what already makes a visit to The Broad so special. I can’t imagine anyone else doing as good a job or caring quite as much.”

Exterior rendering of the existing and expanded Broad. (Visualization: Plomp © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of The Broad)

The Broad's expansion will be situated directly west of the existing museum, atop a parking plinth that is 1.5 floors above Hope Street, which the expansion faces as seen in the rendering at top. (See the existing conditions in Google Maps.) The plinth is directly connected to the recently completely Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill Metro station via a bridge spanning Hope, further making the site a logical one for the expansion. 

The rendering above shows the elevated plaza immediately south of The Broad, looking west toward the expansion. Diller's design for the expansion clearly aligns itself to the 2015 museum at the roof and the “lifted” veil, but formally it is departure: inverting the visual vocabulary of the “veil” for a smooth and solid sculptural mass with selective openings indented into or projecting from it. DS+R conceptualizes it as an “unveiling” of the vault that occupies the center of their earlier building.

“I think of the new building as a companion to the existing Broad. The pair shares DNA, but each has its own distinct character and purpose in constant dialogue with its counterpart. The original Broad was conceived as an unfolding experience starting in the lobby, traveling up the escalator piercing the vault, landing in the third-floor gallery immersed in the collection, then snaking down through collection storage on the way back to the street. The challenge of adding more space to the building was to retain this intuitive circulation and logic while introducing a set of completely new experiences for the visitor.”

Elizabeth Diller

Rendering of a future gallery in the expanded Broad, featuring artworks from the Broad collection (L to R, front gallery): Amy Sherald,Kingdom, 2022; Elliott Hundley, Changeling, 2020; Patrick Martinez, Migration is Natural, 2021, picture me rollin’, 2016, PsychicFriends (Malcolm X), 2022, and They Tried to Bury Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds (Dinos Christianopoulos), 2022; (backgallery): Mark Bradford, Corner of Desire and Piety, 2008 and Helter Skelter I, 2007. (Visualization: Plomp © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of the artists and The Broad)

The expansion, set to start construction before The Broad turns ten next fall, offers these elements:

  • 55,000 square feet of new construction increasing the galleries by 70%
  • Two open-air courtyards at the top of the building
  • A flexible live-programming space
  • A new experience of the popular art storage vault

The expansion is set to open ahead of LA hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics. The museum will stay open during construction and, as before, general admission to the museum will continue to be free after the expansion opens.

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