The Broad Museum, a Los Angeles Favorite, Is Expanding


The Broad, the free contemporary art collection that has become one of the most popular museums in Los Angeles since it opened in 2015, is expanding, officials said on Wednesday.

Building on its success, the Broad — housed in a striking white honeycomb structure on Grand Avenue across from Walt Disney Concert Hall — is putting up a 55,000-square-foot addition that will be designed by its original architects, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. It plans to open before the 2028 Summer Olympics, which are being held in Los Angeles.

The project will continue the legacy of the museum’s founder, Eli Broad, a businessman and philanthropist who sought to reinvigorate downtown Los Angeles with arts and culture, who died in 2021.

“This really doubles down on the collecting approach and ultimate mission we have here, which is to build as large an audience for contemporary art as possible,” Joanne Heyler, the Broad’s founding director and president, said in a recent interview. “That was built into Eli’s ethos from the very beginning, and what he said even before we dreamed of opening a museum of our own.”

The expansion is expected to cost about $100 million, officials said, and will be privately funded by The Broad Foundations. Mr. Broad and his wife, Edythe, are the institution’s sole donors, and both the museum and the collection are supported by an endowment that currently amounts to approximately $1 billion.

“I am happy about the museum’s success and especially all the people who’ve discovered a love of contemporary art at The Broad,” Edythe Broad said in a statement. “It’s beyond what Eli and I could have hoped for.”

The decision to use Diller, Scofidio + Renfro for the addition was strongly influenced by Edythe Broad, who believed that “no one is going to care more about the existing building than the people who designed it,” Heyler said.

Elizabeth Diller, the project’s lead architect, said she was conceiving of the addition as “a companion” to the original that shares the same “genetic code.”

From the moment it opened in 2015, the Broad (pronounced brode) has been a whopping hit. It draws roughly 900,000 visitors a year, many of whom register in advance for its free tickets.

In addition to highly Instagrammable works like Robert Therrien’s oversized table and chairs or Jeff Koons’ “Tulips” sculpture, the Broad collection comprises more than 2,000 artworks from the 1950s to the present. The museum’s blue-chip roster includes pieces by 200 artists, several of whom are collected in depth, like Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Bradford and Kara Walker.

The museum also collects works by artists who were historically left out of the canon and the market. Fourteen out of the 16 artists added to its collection since 2021 are people of color.

The Broad has played an important role in the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, but it is unclear what impact the Broad’s expansion will have on the Museum of Contemporary Art across the street, which has struggled in recent years.

The expansion will be built on property owned by the museum, extending west from the existing Broad on Grand Street along 2nd Street to Hope Street.

The design for the extension builds on the architects’ original “veil and vault” theme for the building — with a white textured exterior veil that envelopes a sculptural gray core containing art storage, the vault. The expansion will invert that visual vocabulary, with an exterior that echoes the vault.

The new building will feature new galleries on the first, second and third floors, increasing the Broad’s gallery space by 70 percent. Connecting two new galleries are two open-air courtyards, which may have outdoor sculpture.

“I felt that you had to have a moment of respite before you entered something else,” Diller said.

The courtyards are part of an effort “to do something different” with the expansion, Heyler said. “We knew from the outset that just super sizing the existing building was not the way to go.”

There is also a live performance space that will be visible from the street and a second-floor art storage vault where visitors can move among racks of paintings.

With the addition, the Broad hopes to continue its effort to provide a more casual kind of museum experience, exemplified by the absence of a traditional information desk and the introduction of digital tickets.

“My hope is that visitors feel that the museum is theirs to discover,” Heyler said.

The expansion will not only enable the Broad to display more of the art it has in storage, but also to accommodate a collection that continues to grow.

“One thing that is important for me to communicate is that we are collecting present tense,” Heyler said, “with a long horizon of collecting to come.”


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