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Elizabeth Diller on building in Frank Gehry's shadow: "A different play"

January 6, 2011 | 10:36 am

One of the clear challenges -- and architectural opportunities -- of Eli Broad's museum downtown is that it will be built directly adjacent to Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. When I asked Elizabeth Diller, who is spearheading the design of the museum for the New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, about working in Gehry's shadow, she had this to say:

"How do you hold your ground against Frank Gehry? Most architects would be intimidated by that. But when you look at the constraints of our site and the height limitations, the buildings are not competitive in terms of size.

"We tried to create a very different building. Where Disney Hall is smooth and shiny and reflects light, this building really wants to be the opposite: matte and porous.

"Disney has beautiful lines and surfaces and sculptural qualities, but it doesn't really pry itself wide open to the public. This does much more of that. We see it as quite a different play."


Broaddesign The grand plan for the Broad museum

Critic's notebook: Broad museum design pointed in the right direction

More images of DSR's design for the Broad museum

-- Christopher Hawthorne

Image: Sectional diagram of planned Broad museum downtown. Credit: Broad Art Foundation / Diller Scofidio + Renfro.