Bunker Hill is shaping up to be one of the most culturally powerful centers in the country. A centralized cultural collection along Grand Ave consisting of the LA Music Center, MOCA, and the Colburn School will finally be joined by The Broad contemporary art museum — a cultural gem in the making now under construction next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and slated to open sometime in 2015 after a frustrating 15-month delay. When completed next year, The Broad will house billionaire Eli Broad’s contemporary art collection with over 2,000 pieces of art from the likes of Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, and Ed Ruscha. But beyond the amazing art itself, it’s also just as much about making Downtown LA an enjoyable existence for the pedestrians of Los Angeles. The Broad will be adding an exciting outdoor plaza that will make Grand Ave more pedestrian-oriented, and ultimately, help make Downtown LA a cohesive walkable community — the urban oasis Los Angeles yearns for.
The new Broad Plaza will be over half an acre large sitting between the museum and a new 19-story, 271-unit residential tower called The Emerson that is slated for occupancy later this summer. A total of fifteen Barouni olive trees all around 100 years old have been transported down to LA on large trucks from their original home near the Shasta Cascade in Northern California. The trees will provide the Broad Plaza with shade and aesthetic beauty that will enhance the museum and pedestrian experience on Bunker Hill.
Designed by the museum’s architect firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (the same firm that co-designed The High Line in New York) and Hood Design, the Broad Plaza also sits elevated above General Thad Kosciuszko Way (aka GTK Way) like the elevated High Line. Looking into the future by 2020, this plaza will play an important role not only as a gathering spot on Bunker Hill, but also an exciting and convenient access point for the future Regional Connector subway line where a new elevator and bridge from the station will be connected directly to the Broad Plaza.
And speaking of exciting pedestrian enhancements, a new crosswalk with a landscaped median will also be installed this year connecting the Broad Plaza (and museum) directly across Grand Ave to MOCA and the Colburn School.
Thank goodness we won’t have to wait until the museum is completed before we can enjoy the new Broad Plaza as it is slated to open by the end of summer around the time when The Emerson residential tower opens next door.
Renderings of The Broad Plaza courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro