Eli & Edythe Broad art Museum in East Lansing
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, The Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum resides on the campus of Michigan State University. Committed to exploring contemporary issues through international art, the Museum functions as an exhibition and community space.
Zaha Hadid Architects worked with Zahner to develop the pleated stainless steel facade, a complex use of metal requiring a high level of precision. The metal is finished in a non-directional, light diffusing surface technique called Angel Hair.
”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
The Center for Contemporary Art opened in 2003 and is the first Museum in the United States designed by Zaha Hadid. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the project uses blackened aluminum, an uncommon patina which was produced with great difficulty, and sealed to decrease the need for maintenance. This custom dark aluminum surface was desired by Zaha Hadid to provide contrast against the light concrete above and below, giving the sturcture an almost anthropomorphic resemblance.These plates of blackened aluminum use a siding system which repels moisture. These were engineered to interlock in such a manner to control thermal movement without compromising the moisture deterrence requirements. This was important due to the installation on concrete, which breathes. The aluminum plate panel system features custom extruded hardware fastened using matching aluminum studs for a visually seamless system. This hardware is attached to the horizontal aluminum hat channel.Several years after the initial install, streaks were running down it's surface, and the owners contacted Zahner to provide repair. Upon closer inspection of the material, Zahner discovered that it was moisture from the concrete which was draining across the surface. The aluminum was cleaned without any problem back to its original finish.Zahner also completed interior metalwork including a blackened aluminum plaque on the museum's interior, laser-etched with the names of all the donors.
Design Assist & The Broad Art Museum
Zaha Hadid engaged Zahner in a Design Assist contract during early stages of design development. Due to the complexities of the intended design, both teams deemed it necessary to sufficiently pre-plan constructability, budget and scheduling.
The dynamic design of The Broad Art Museum necessitated re-thinking typical fabrication methodologies. Because every component of the façade is askew, traditional practices for creating square structures were not applicable. New machining processes were created to achieve the architect’s precise, accordion-like edges, which in many ways are more complex than curvilinear designs.
Part of the Design Assist process includes production of a to-scale mock-up. The prototype aids in identifying design and fabrication challenges, ensuring smoother and more directed shop and installation procedures.
”Because it's 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