Nobody Puts Eli in a Corner: Broad Sues over Pokey Panels

broadexteriorAccording to the New York Times, Billionaire art collector Eli Broad filed a $19.8 million lawsuit Friday against German company Seele Inc., for delays in fabricating the building blocks for the façade of his eponymous museum. Construction on the $140 million project, designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, began in 2012. Originally slated to open mid-2014, then pushed back to the year’s end, the museum will now open sometime in 2015.

This is not the first setback regarding the façade, which was originally designed to be a load-bearing structure made of pre-cast concrete. When this proved too costly and heavy, a primarily decorative glass-fiber-reinforced concrete design was substituted. The complex honeycomb-like lattice, commonly referred to as the “veil,” will wrap around the building, and is punctured by an “oculus” through which Broad can survey City Hall and the MOCA across the street, like Emperor Palpatine in the Death Star.


According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Seele failed to “deliver a product that was not ‘mere Tiffany,’ but ‘Cartier’ quality.” Members of the 99% will no doubt be disappointed to hear that the aspirational brand with the signature blue box does not meet billionaire standards. The firm has previously contributed to Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library, Renzo Piano’s New York Times headquarters, Herzog and de Meuron’s olympic “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing. and several Apple stores.

L.A.’s own Medici, a “feared and admired dictator,” Broad has been a major player in the Los Angeles art scene for years. He donated $60 million to LACMA in 2003 for the construction of a contemporary wing bearing his name, and saved MOCA in 2008 with $30 million pledge. When it finally opens, the Broad will house 2000 works of post-war and contemporary art from his and his wife Edythe’s collection.

also by Matt Stromberg

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