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Plaza design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro to make cultural corridor more pedestrian-friendly; partnership with LA restaurateur Bill Chait to expand downtown’s culinary offerings


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10, 2014—The Broad, Los Angeles’s newest contemporary art museum, unveiled designs today for a new outdoor public plaza by architect Diller Scofidio + Renfro, landscaping that will feature 100-year-old olive trees as well as enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue, adding another parcel of critical green space to the region and making downtown’s cultural corridor more pedestrian-friendly when the plaza opens later this year. In addition to the plaza next to the museum, The Broad also announced that its adjacent restaurant will be developed by leading Los Angeles restaurateur Bill Chait, with a unique vision to integrate dining with art and community.

“Grand Avenue’s incomparable architecture and cultural institutions need increased walkable outdoor green space to enhance the area and create a vibrant urban core,” said Eli Broad, co-founder of The Broad. “Edye and I want our museum patrons—from across Los Angeles and around the world—to experience a creative outdoor environment and great food when they visit The Broad, MOCA and all of the great performing arts venues along Southern California’s most significant cultural corridor. With Bill Chait’s culinary vision and DSR’s plaza design, we are bringing greater enjoyment for visitors to this booming area.”

“Since Grand Park opened in 2012, visitors have flocked to this downtown oasis to picnic, play and enjoy recreational and educational activities,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This new public plaza next to The Broad is an exciting addition that will help realize the city and county’s vision for the Grand Avenue Project and will further meet the demand for outdoor green space on Bunker Hill, as people come from far and near to enjoy the region’s cultural and culinary amenities.”

The 24,000-square-foot plaza to the south of The Broad will create an inviting green space from Grand Avenue to Hope Street. A new mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk will connect The Broad and the plaza on the west side of Grand with MOCA, the Colburn School and all the cultural, commercial and residential neighbors along Grand Avenue.

Pedestrians will use wide stairs and an elevator at the Hope Street end of the plaza to easily traverse the level change of this portion of Bunker Hill and access Hope Street and the planned 2nd and Hope Street Metro Regional Connector station that will connect visitors to the main Metro rail lines serving greater Los Angeles.

The plaza landscaping, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hood Design, will feature a bosque of Barouni olive trees originally seeded in the early 20th century in groves in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California. Characterized by dappled sunlight and including crushed stone paving and flowering groundcover, the bosque will provide a buffer and counterpoint to the activity on the street. Additionally, an open and sunlit lawn will complement the more intimate scale of the bosque of olives and provide a venue for The Broad’s outdoor public programming, which will include films, performances, receptions and educational events, including events produced in coordination with the restaurant. The plaza will be furnished with tree stump tables and seating fabricated from salvaged Barouni olive trees as well as movable seating to allow users to reconfigure the space for their own uses.

“Our design for the plaza taps into the new spirit of downtown L.A., mixing culture, recreation and food. The neighboring institutions will be able to share the landscaped space for both passive and lively programming, day and night. The grove of 100-year-old olive trees is a counterpoint to the newness of the surrounding buildings and the artifice of the bridge over General Thaddeus Kosciusko Way that supports this landscape,” said Elizabeth Diller, founding principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

In addition to a mid-block traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, enhancements to Grand Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets will include wider sidewalks on the west side of the street in front of the museum and plaza, new plantings of Chinese Pistache trees, LED street lights and in-ground uplights in front of the museum. Trees will also be planted on the median flanking the pedestrian crosswalk. On the widened sidewalk in front of The Broad, pedestrians will be able to walk under the building’s striking “veil”. Construction of the public plaza is already underway, and it is scheduled to open in fall 2014. The Broad will open in 2015.

The plaza’s restaurant, to be developed in partnership with Bill Chait and his company Sprout, will be built in a freestanding structure at the western end of the plaza. A native Angeleno, Chait has developed and operated a number of successful restaurant concepts, including the nationally acclaimed pop-up restaurant Test Kitchen, République on La Brea Avenue with celebrated chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke, and Bestia—lauded by the Los Angeles Times as one of the city’s best restaurants—in downtown L.A.’s arts district.

In developing the new restaurant for the plaza, Chait will be joined by renowned chef Timothy Hollingsworth and Rory Herrmann, the director of culinary operations for Bill Chait’s and Sprout’s new restaurants. Hollingsworth is the former chef de cuisine at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, Calif. and represented the United States in 2009 at Bocuse d’Or, the biennial world chef championship. Herrmann hails from a long tenure with chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller in New York and California restaurant ventures. Both Tim and Rory will be partners in the project and the trio are committed to creating a restaurant that serves the community, feels indigenous to downtown and serves the needs of Grand Avenue and Southern California with accessible and creative
dining concepts.

The goal of the partnership between Chait and The Broad is to create a community hub that brings entertainment, art and programming—from world class food events to local film screenings and music—to the plaza. “Eli and Edye Broad have given me the opportunity to partner with them to create something on Grand Avenue that goes beyond simply building a significant restaurant,” said Chait. “Our goal is to create a unique social, artistic and culinary experience that everyone will be able to enjoy.” The community theme will also be evident in local hiring practices and an apprentice program aimed at training disadvantaged and underserved youth to be the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs—a core principle that guides Chait and his Sprout partner, local philanthropist Aileen Getty, in all of their projects. To this end, Hollingsworth and Herrmann also plan to create a subsidized school lunch program for schoolchildren who visit The Broad and Grand Avenue’s other cultural institutions. View and download plaza renderings:

About The Broad
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edytheroad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will open to the public in 2015. The museum will be home to the more than 2,000 works of art in The Broad Art Foundation and the Broads’ personal collections, which are among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collections and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library.

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