Broad Art Museum

Eli & Edythe Broad Museum in East Lansing

The new Broad Art Museum designed by Zaha Hadid Architects  is the result of the team's winning design for the Michigan State University International Design Competition.

As a structure, the new campus museum was designed to house large art installations as well as providing unique spaces dedicated to contemporary culture through art. The museum broke ground in March 2010 and opened in November 2012. The Broad Museum represents Zaha Hadid's second museum of art in the United States as well as the second Zaha Hadid project featuring a facade produced with Zahner.

The Eli & Edythe Broad Museum

The Eli & Edythe Broad Museum.

Design Assist & The Broad Museum

Zaha Hadid secured a Design Assist contact with Zahner early on in the design development of the project, which allowed Zahner to provide complex details within a given budget, schedule, and desired aesthetic. As part of the Design Assist contract, Zahner produced a mockup of the surface. The mockup serves as an essential prototype for the final surface, and reveals design issues and fabrication realities.

Building a Mockup

One of the first design hurdles that the mockup revealed was how to build the angular surface using machining processes that are better suited for square structures. Every component of the facade is askew, and the architects desired strong, sharp edges for each of the massive accordion-like shapes which emerge from the building's facade. The solution involved developing a new process of machining the large stainless steel plates.

Section of the Broad Museum selected for Zahner's Mockup.

Broad Museum Mockup in the Zahner shop.

”We were able to achieve a highly refined stainless steel surface for the Broad Art Museum by scaling up technology that once was stuck in the confines of fine machinery or jewelry.“
— L. William Zahner


Aligned CAD and photo of the Broad during construction.

CAD detail of the Broad siding


Aligned CAD view of the of the Broad Museum / Broad Museum during Installation.

”Because its all intersecting lines, it had to be even more precise than a curving facade. It might seem counterintuitive, but a facade like the Broad is actually more complex than most curvilinear facades.“
— Craig Long, Engineer

The project was very integrated, involving a few physical meetings in Michigan and several months of online design charrettes. The screen-sharing meetings were international, working with Integrated Design Solutions (Architect of Record) in Michigan, Elisabeth Wong at SDI (Engineer) in Michigan, Barton Malow (GC), Zaha Hadid in London, Gartner (Glazing) in Germany. The design and prototyping process took 9 months.

CAD Detail of the fabricated pipe understructurePhotograph of the cladding integrated with fabricated pipes


CAD Detail of the fabricated pipe understructure / Photograph of the cladding integrated with fabricated pipes.

View of the stainless steel adjacent to Roxy Paine dendrite sculpturePhotograph of the Eli & Edythe Broad Museum


Detail photos of the Eli & Edythe Broad Museum.

The Eli & Edythe Broad Museum at night

The Eli & Edythe Broad Museum at night.

Reflective metal, viewed from southwest of the Broad Museum

Reflective metal, viewed from southwest of the Broad Museum.

View of the Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle sculpture.View of the Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle sculpture from outside.


Interior and exterior views of the fins and fenestration.

Southside view of the Broad Museum in East Lansing, Michigan

South side view of the Broad Museum in East Lansing, Michigan.

The Broad Museum during construction.

The Broad Museum's facade pushes the boundaries of digital engineering, physical construction, and conceptual design. The dynamic corrugated stainless steel surface tested the high-level aptitudes of the Zahner designers, engineers, and craftsmen, and resulted in the development of a metal paneling system which allowed for efficient installation. The project is a testament to the museum-quality edges that Zahner is known for producing.

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