Got a chance earlier this week to visit the newly opened Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The boldly designed $40 million facility has been under construction for the past couple of years and opened to the public in mid-November, 2012.
Zaha Hadid’s strikingly beautiful building won the design competition and stands out boldly against the backdrop of historic brick structures in the original part of campus and along East Lansing’s primary thoroughfare, Grand River Avenue. Her contemporary design works very well both inside and out. as the shimmering exterior reflects the surrounding history, while unique interior vistas frame their visual subjects.
During the visit, one of my sons noted he had heard fellow students refer to the new museum as, “a spaceship that had landed.” Give its ultra-sleek and contemporary design with sharply-cut angles, the new Broad Museum certainly makes a statement like, “here I am, look at me!.” But at the same time, isn’t that the whole point of an art museum in the first place?
Shouldn’t an art museum make an artistic statement in itself? Personally, I believe so. Who wants to enjoy art in a concrete and/or steel box? A visit to an art museum should be a sensory experience at every turn. Architects such as Zaha Hadid understand the notion that nothing is more disappointing than a museum that does not fulfill its own purpose.
MSU’s new Broad Museum easily fulfills its own purpose and then some – boldly enlivening one segment of a traditional, ivy-laden campus into a striking statement about the works of art contained within and about the exciting artistic promises that the future beholds.