An everchanging appearance

Wednesday 16 Jan 2008

Zaha Hadid's Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

The building’s appearance embraces the idea of being folded out of the different movements intersecting on the site. The light structure of the outer envelope is a sharp and directed body, a composition of patches on directional pleats, reflecting the landscape carpet’s geometry. It underlines both the movements in and around the site as well as the development from the ‘urban’ western end to the landscape side of the plot facing east. Each patch of the facade picks up a different direction of the compositionof the landscape carpet, depicting its origin both at the inside and at the outside of the building. The elongated sculpture of the building leans against the west in a dramatic gesture, a direct counter movement towards the approaching traffic, forming a raised head with a 40 feet tall front face towards the urban plaza and the volume of the Berkley Hall. From there the volume undertakes a linear and continuous shift in scale to the east side which faces the sculpture garden, where it blends into the landscape at 27 feet height, significantly below the tree tops, mediating between the scales of the large structures and the garden in the east. The east is sculpted by a positive-negative play of building volume and landscape patches, forming a three-sided courtyard with an openinner facade, staging a floating space between galleries and landscape. The building’s outer skin, a structure of stainless steel with a gradual perforation and glass, picks up the play of different directions and orientations by giving each face of a pleat either an opaque or transparent character. It gives the building an ever changing appearance whilst moving past it, at the same time it is used to fi lter and direct the daylight depending on each gallery’s purpose and orientation.

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