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Edward Dimendberg, author of Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture after Images, visits the half-built Broad museum and tells DnA why the New York trio has “understood the way we live today” more than any other architecture firm.

The Broad, Eli Broad’s new museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, is becoming a reality. Situated by the Walt Disney Concert Hall, across 2nd Street, the Broad is currently halfway through construction and the wraparound concrete “veil” (above) is taking shape. So too is the giant, curving mouth of an entrance that will open directly onto the avenue and hopefully serve as a bustling ground-level lobby on a street of cultural buildings that is currently largely devoid of pedestrians.

IMG_7108The building is designed by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and DnA recently went to check out the building, in the company of Broad chief curator Joanne Heyler and Edward Dimendberg, professor of film and media studies at UC Irvine (left), who is author of a new book about the architects, entitled Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture after Images.

The subtitle Architecture after Images reflects Dimendberg’s view, discussed in this DnA interview (below), that “more than any other contemporary architecture office,” Diller Scofidio +Renfro ”have put their fingers on the pulse of contemporary life and understood the way we live today, and the importance of mass media and the importance of images in our culture.”

Having taped the interview about the book, we then followed up with Edward once he had seen inside the new building. What did he think? Did he like it? Did it fit his theories about the firm?

IMG_7102Yes, he said, and more, saying the curving, soaring foyer was more Saarinen-like than anything he had seen of the firm’s before. But, he said, the design continues DS+R’s practice of incorporating an “element of drama” in every building they create.

In the Broad, he says, such elements are the elevator that will shoot visitors from ground level up through a vertical tunnel (right, under construction) into the center of the light-filled, “veiled” exhibit floor, and a voyeuristic peek-hole into the art storage.  He is excited by the  ”idea of visitors being able to look at the work in storage and to open up the operations of the museum and to take something that’s normally forbidden and closed off and make it visible.”

Listen to Edward Dimendberg discuss his book, and the building here.

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