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New downtown art museum design unveiled

1/5/2011, 5 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--A new contemporary art museum downtown to house philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad's 2,000-piece collection will have a honeycomb-shaped "veil'' and sky-lit gallery, according to an architectural design unveiled today.

Designed by the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the three-story, 120,000-foot museum --to be called The Broad Art Foundation, or simply "The Broad''--is estimated to cost about $130 million.

The Broads will fund the museum with a $200 million endowment.

"Edye and I have lived here for 48 years, this is a great city, it's been very good to us, and we want to give back,'' Eli Broad said at a news conference at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, across the street from where the museum is to be built.

"The Broad'' will be built on the southwest corner of Second Street and Grand Avenue, on a parcel previously slated for condominium towers. Once completed in late 2012, it is expected to attract 200,000 visitors a year to downtown Los Angeles.

The museum will have almost an acre of column-free gallery space, a lecture hall, multi-media gallery and public lobby with display space and museum shop.

It will also have a state-of-the-art archive, study and art storage space available to scholars and curators who want to borrow artworks for their institutions through The Broad Art Foundation.

Dubbed "the veil and the vault,'' the museum's design merges the two key components of the building: public exhibition space and the archive that will support The Broad Foundation's art lending activities.

The veil is an airy, cellular exoskeleton that will span the block-long gallery and provide filtered natural light. The vault, which will hold the archives, will hover midway in the building. Its carved underside will shape the lobby below, and its top surface will serve as the floor of the exhibition
space.

Broad's art collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, John Baldessari, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Christopher Wool, among others.

By Christina Villacorte | City News Service