Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Broad Art Museum (2012)

Zaha Hadid, Architect

Michigan State University Campus

East Lansing, MI

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Photographs taken March 28 and April 20, 2013

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is an interesting shiny jagged object designed by a bold strong personality. Hadid’s object seemed small during construction, and as the pleated stainless steel went up, it seemed too busy. I thought the starchitect created an attention grabbing sculpture, and it’s angular shape would create awkward spaces that the collection would be forced into.

Once I was able to experience the interior I was pleasantly surprised. It is a series of distinct galleries on three floors (including the basement) angled around a sculptural grand stairway. Some of the galleries are windowless and quite intimate, while others are grand with bold pleated windows and balconies overlooking them. The artwork feels as if it really belongs in the spaces, with some being installations actually created on the walls. There are some platforms which are extensions of the black metal archway casings and provide an elevated base for sculptural pieces. There is even a new media gallery with video installations in the lower level.

Surprisingly there is even room for a cafe, creating an area for receptions and gatherings with overflow space out into a courtyard. What seemed small from the outside, turned out to be much larger than expected.  It is much more than a sculptural object, it is truly a museum which displays the artwork beautifully – but I do still think the shiny jagged stainless steel siding is a little too busy…

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