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The Broad expansion: What you need to know about the $100-million project

The Broad is planning a $100-million addition to its existing building. It expects to break ground early next year, and the project is slated for completion in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics. What will the extra space mean for the museum itself and downtown L.A. in general?

How large is the expansion?

The Broad is getting a new 55,000-square-foot building that will be attached to the existing museum via a third-floor entryway that leads to an open-air courtyard with sky views. The original building, which opened in 2015, is 120,000 square feet, so the expansion is about half the size of that and will bring with it 70% more gallery space. It will open onto the Grand Avenue Arts / Bunker Hill Metro station.

Read more: The Broad announces massive expansion that will increase gallery space by 70%

What does it mean for downtown L.A.?

Downtown has struggled to make a comeback after the pandemic and the rise of remote work drastically restricted the number of people regularly frequenting the area. Since then, many restaurants and bars have closed or are struggling to operate, and shuttered storefronts are an increasingly common sight. There is also an ongoing problem with disruption to businesses caused by a large unhoused population.

The Broad is one of L.A.'s most popular museums, with more than 5.5 million visitors to date, and more than 900,000 guests annually. That number is likely to increase after the expansion, bringing with it a much-needed influx of people looking to shop, dine and be entertained.

Joanne Heyler, founding director and president of the Broad, said in an interview that the museum is highly invested in a vital downtown and that she believes the expansion will be "something of a gateway for all of Grand Avenue, its institutions, its businesses and its restaurants."

It could breathe fresh life into the highly vaunted, but never-fully realized Grand Avenue Project, which hoped to create a thriving civic and cultural corridor including the Frank Gehry-designed Grand LA, the Music Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Colburn School.

Read more: Commentary: The Broad expansion makes the museum more flexible, but at what cost?

What will the expansion look like?

Designed by the New York-based firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which also created the original museum, the new building is basically an inversion of the old building's architecture. That structure features a design scheme known as the veil and the vault. The white veil consists of 500 honeycomb panels made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete that adorn the outside of the building, and the vault is the smooth gray core of the building's interior, which visitors ascend through on an escalator to various levels of the museum.

The expansion is basically the vault without the veil, and it will be attached to the rear of the original museum, creating an inside-out mirror image of sorts.

What will the increased space be used for?

More art — that's the most basic answer. The Broad maintains a collection of more than 2,000 pieces of contemporary art from masters including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker. Currently, about 200 pieces are on view. The added 70% of gallery space will allow the museum to increase that number significantly.

Edythe Broad, 88, and Heyler still regularly collect new work by established and emerging artists, and Heyler says the Broad's mandate has always been to share as much of that art as possible with the public.

In addition, the expansion includes much-needed spaces for guests to relax and gather, including two top-floor, open-air courtyards, as well as flexible live programming spaces with built-in light and sound infrastructure for live performances, talks, screenings, family-oriented workshops and school programs, as well as concerts and multimedia installations.

Is there going to be another Yayoi Kusama infinity room?

There are no plans to change the location of Kusama’s "Infinity Mirrored Room: The Souls of Millions of Lightyears Away."

Will admission remain free?

Yes. Although special exhibitions will still come at a cost. Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the museum's reservation system and can nab tickets up to a month in advance online or over the phone. The daily stand-by line will still be a fixture.

Will there be added parking?

No additional parking is being built for the expansion, but a representative for the Broad noted that when the museum opened in 2015, it had far more parking than required. Overflow parking is available in a number of nearby lots, including the adjacent lot for Walt Disney Concert Hall. Using public transportation, including Metro, is always encouraged.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.