The Broad: Los Angeles, CA

Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro in co-operation with Gensler Architects
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates

‘String of pearls’ inground LEDs highlight The Broad Museum in Los Angeles

The newly-built Broad Museum in Los Angeles` “Museum Mile” along Grand Avenue has to hold its own among some illustrious neighbours that include the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, the Museum of Contemporary Art by Arata Isozaki, and the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts by Coop Himmelb(l)au.

An elegantly perforated concrete layer wraps around The Broad Museum’s rectangular structure. This rises slightly at the corners of the building to mark entrance areas, while morphing to form a recess – known as an “oculus” – in the middle of the main façade. The concrete shell protects the works of art exhibited inside by acting as a daylight filter while, at the same time, defining the architectural identity of the building. With this in mind, the lighting of the façade assumes great significance.

Approximately 180 ETC330-GB LED inground luminaires from WE-EF have been installed at The Broad Museum. The majority are arranged in a “string of pearls”, close to the building, which traces the façade. The inground luminaires not only feature impressive efficiency with a connected wattage of just 12 watts; their lighting quality was also an important factor in their selection. With the gimballed version used for this project, the lighting module can smoothly rotate 360° and pivot 30° thanks to the gimballed system. A tilt of 5° proved to be optimal for the façade height of the museum. The inground luminaires were therefore locked precisely to these criteria at the factory.

In order to eliminate possible glare from the lights blinding passers-by, WE-EF developed an internally fitted glare shield that screens the luminaires in the direction of the footpath. The lenses for this project were lightly sand-blasted as part of a customer-specific adaptation. As a result, the edges of the emitted light do not have a sharp cut-off, but are instead somewhat diffuse; the way in which the individual distributions blend into each other is particularly soft.

The inground luminaires at the entrance areas also underwent the same special treatment. They generate a symmetrical light distribution with a very narrow beam [EE] and direct their light to the underside of the raised building shell in those areas.

The luminaires also have linear spread lenses to widen the angle of distribution in just one level and precisely highlight the concrete edges with their accurately directed light. The resulting bright triangular contour accentuates the entrances, enticing visitors to step into the museum, even after dark. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) honored The Broad Museum with a 2016 IES Illumination Award of Merit.