THE BROAD, LOS ANGELES
DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO, ARUP
The perennial conflict between admitting daylight
into a museum and protecting its more vulnerable
contents from photochemical damage has been
resolved at The Broad, Los Angeles’s newly opened
contemporary arts museum, by making the building’s
entire exterior a light filter.
The Broad is home to some 2000 works of post-war
and contemporary art, and the headquarters of the
Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.
The three-level building has a bright, metallic,
honeycomb-like exoskeleton which, together with
skylights carefully calibrated to the solar path in
LA, bring controlled natural light into the galleries.
Multidisciplinary practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro
worked in close collaboration with Arup on the
design of The Broad, helping to develop the ‘
The architectural ‘veil’ comprises 2500 rhomboidal
panels constructed in fibre glass-reinforced concrete
and supported by a steel substructure. This porous
envelope surrounds the ‘vault,’ a heavy opaque mass
with viewing windows, which hovers between the
lobby and top floor, and houses the archive and
portions of the collection either not on display or
on loan. The top floor gallery is illuminated by
expansive north-facing skylight clerestories and a
fully shaded glazed east wall. In all, there are more
than 300 skylights letting in diffused sunlight
through north-canted light slots in the veil’s roof
section, creating an even lucency throughout the
7m-deep, columnless gallery.
The skylights include controllable blackout shades so
that the museum can exhibit artworks that require
reduced light levels, such as works on fugitive media
or video. Passive daylighting also ensures that daylight
levels in the galleries vary with the season, time of day
and weather, continually altering the ambience of the
Arup helped develop custom, track-mounted LED
wallwashers to uniformly illuminate the 7.3m-high
gallery walls when daylight levels are insufficient.
Having assisted with the BIM of the building services
in the roof and lobby ceilings, and recommended
energy savings strategies, Arup says The Board’s
energy use will be up to 20 per cent lower than the
current California Energy Code requires.