If every cloud has a silver lining, for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture the cloud was the Northridge earthquake, and the silver lining is the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, which opens to the public this month.
Thanks in large part to the architecture firm of Richard Meier & Partners and philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the school has a seismically repaired and distinctive new home — formerly known as Dickson Art Center — for its internationally recognized visual arts programs.
The Broads donated $23.2 million toward the construction of the new complex, which houses the Department of Art, the Department of Design | Media Arts and the New Wight Gallery, and includes studios, interactive multimedia technology, Wi-Fi capabilities, and galleries for exhibitions and public presentations.
Says Eli Broad, “About 30 years ago, I became very interested in art, and it’s been an educational and broadening experience. I want others to enjoy the arts, to share this.”
Meier & Partners transformed the existing structure into the striking, modern building of architectural concrete, teak and white glass that now graces UCLA’s North Campus. The firm added outboard structural buttresses to the west end of the tower, an alternative to interior shear walls that allows for flexible interior space unencumbered by partitions and a loft-like floor plan perfectly suited to studio practices. School of the Arts and Architecture Dean Christopher Waterman notes, “It’ll be fun to watch how the programs grow into the new spaces.”
The eight-story Broad Art Center is a portal to the campus from the north, extending the axis right through the building’s lobby to the plaza and the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden. The first public work by sculptor Richard Serra installed in Southern California, a 14-foot-high, steel torqued ellipse titled T.E.U.C.L.A., dominates the plaza and is also visible from several vantage points in the Broad.
— Adapted from an upcoming story for UCLA Magazine by Rachel Benioff