As the new $140 million Broad contemporary art museum and storage facility marches toward its grand opening in Downtown Los Angeles early next year, officials have just unveiled designs for a new outdoor public plaza to create a more green and "pedestrian-friendly" atmosphere to the outside of the project.

Designed by architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who also designed the museum, the new $18 million plaza will feature 100-year-old olive trees as well as enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue, in the cultural heart of Downtown. In addition to the plaza, The Broad says it has joined forces with Los Angeles restaurateur Bill Chait to develop a new restaurant beside the museum.

Eli Broad, co-founder of The Broad, said in a new release that the Downtown area's architecture, culture and history requires more walkable green space to enhance the area and create a vibrant urban core.”

The 24,000-sq-ft plaza on the south side of The Broad will be a friendly green space for visitors from Grand Avenue to Hope Street. A new mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk will connect The Broad and the plaza on the west side of Grand with other museums and neighbors along Grand Ave and pedestrians will use wide stairs and an elevator to traverse level changes on the property and to reach a planned new Metro Regional Connector station.


The Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hood-designed plaza landscaping will feature olive trees originally seeded in the early 20th century in groves in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California. Characterized by dappled sunlight and including crushed stone paving and flowering groundcover, the trees will provide a buffer and counterpoint to the activity on the street. The plaza, with an open lawn, will feature tree stump tables.

“Our design for the plaza taps into the new spirit of downtown L.A., mixing culture, recreation and food. The neighboring institutions will be able to share the landscaped space for both passive and lively programming, day and night,” said Elizabeth Diller, founding principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in a news release.

Construction of the public plaza is already underway, and it is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

The 120,000-sq-ft Broad project will house more than 2,000 rare pieces of contemporary art from The Broad Foundation and the Broad family’s the world-renown collections. The art will be displayed and stored in a unique three-story building, with three levels of underground parking.

The museum and new plaza are being built by Santa Fe Springs, CA-based MATT Construction. Museum highlights includes a round, glass elevator and a 102-ft-long, tube-like escalator that will transport visitors from a complex, curved lobby, through a second-floor storage vault, into a third-floor main gallery, where 23-ft-high ceilings and 35,000 sq-ft of column-free space will showcase Broad’s prized collection.

The gallery will have a massive 200-ft, free-span roof that cantilevers

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40 ft over the front of the museum and includes 318 skylights monitors with glazed openings, all facing north so that natural light is filtered to protect artwork from harmful direct sunlight. The building will be wrapped in an  elaborate "veil" exterior system of concrete trapezoidal-shaped panels, which cover and flow around the "vault" building like a giant net.

Because of the complexity of the "veil" structure, the museum recently announced that it was pushing back its originally scheduled opening in late 2014 to sometime in 2015, says Alex Capriotti, director communications for The Broad.