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 Eli & Edythe Broad Museum.
The Eli & Edythe Broad Museum.

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


Section of the Broad Museum selected for Zahner's Mockup.
Section of the Broad Museum selected for Zahner's Mockup.
Broad Museum Mockup in the Zahner shop.
Broad Museum Mockup in the Zahner shop.
Aligned CAD and photo of the Broad during construction.
Aligned CAD and photo of the Broad during construction.
Aligned CAD view of the of the Broad Museum / Broad Museum during Installation.
Aligned CAD view of the of the Broad Museum / Broad Museum during Installation.
CAD Detail of the fabricated pipe understructure / Photograph of the cladding integrated with fabricated pipes.
CAD Detail of the fabricated pipe understructure / Photograph of the cladding integrated with fabricated pipes.
Detail photos 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.
Interior and exterior views of the fins and fenestration.
Interior and exterior views of the fins and fenestration.
South side 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 during construction.