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architecture

the Broad museum and urban development in Los Angeles

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Broad, Los Angeles, 2015. Photo: Iwan Baan.

“HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT?” I heard the question over and over during a recent trip to Los Angeles. This being a city with a long and storied history of cults, the query was disconcerting at first, but I soon realized that there was nothing metaphysical about it. It was, instead, a literal reference to the most talked-about quality of the building I had come to visit: the new Broad museum, designed by the New York–based studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), which opened downtown on September 20 amid widespread praise for the sublime luminosity of its interior spaces.

Daylight has always been considered the ideal means of illumination for both the studio and the gallery, but in recent years, increasingly fierce global competition among museums has spurred a seemingly endless cycle of renovation, expansion, and construction in which carefully calibrated natural light has emerged as

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