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
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