Ever since the Broad Contemporary Art Museum designed by Renzo Piano opened over six months ago, the reviewers have been...underwhelmed by the building. Better late than never one of our favorite architecture critics, Slate's Witold Rybczynski, spends a rainy afternoon there and walks away...underwhelmed:
When Broad first approached Piano about the museum, the architect demurred. "As I already told you, it's very frustrating to play a good piece by a string quartet in the middle of three badly played rock concerts," he responded. Piano was referring to the existing museum buildings, whose architecture is pretty bad, as if a shopping mall had been converted into a cultural facility. But after sitting in the outdoor cafe, watching groups of excited children running across the roofed plaza and teenagers wandering in off the street, it struck me that this vulgar (in the literal sense of the word) Southern Californian solution to an art museum succeeded in one important way. In part because of its lack of pretension, this is an art museum in which people appear decidedly at home. It is Piano's lackluster string quartet, rather, that ends up looking out of place.While he does find one bright spot in Piano's Escher-like staircase, Rybczynski beats the dead horse in a lively slide show here.
Renzo Piano's California Adventure Part I: Los Angeles [Slate]
· BCAM, Light Show Considered: Architecture Critic Hawthorne Weighs In [Curbed LA]