Green Space Off Grand: Downtown Nature Grows

The tree-dotted area will sit just south of the upcoming Broad Museum.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Monday, Feb 10, 2014  |  Updated 4:13 PM PDT
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Green Space Off Grand: Downtown Nature Grows

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

A rendering gives a peek at the new public plaza next to the Broad Museum. The plaza will debut later in 2014, while the Broad will bow in 2015.

Trees don't grow inside museums -- usually -- but you'd be hard-pressed to find an art destination that doesn't have at least one representation of a leafy, branch-laden, trunk-sturdy beauty in the form of a painting or sculpture or photograph.

And outside museums? Trees have long ruled the landscape, or grass, or flowers, or all of the above. The Broad, the new museum set to debut downtown in 2015, will honor this culture-meets-nature tradition with its own shady public plaza.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm behind the plaza's design, revealed renderings on Monday, Feb. 10. The green space is will run along much of the contemporary art museum's south edge, and in it? Century-old Barouni olive trees "originally seeded in the early 20th century in groves in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California."

The landscaping is the work of both Hood Design and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

And while the graceful shade-providers will fill much of the 24,000-square-foot plaza, "an open and sunlit lawn" made for movie-watching, tree stump tables, and flowers will pop up elsewhere. And at the bosque's western edge? A Broad-partnered restaurant from Bill Chait.

A future Metro connector station is on the planbooks for the space further west of the restaurant, while the space between the Colburn School and MOCA sit to the plaza's east, across Grand Avenue.

The Broad's new plaza isn't quite as large as its neighbor up the street, Grand Park, but we have to believe that weekday lunchers and Saturday sun-seekers will pay visits to both breath-easy spaces. And, of course, the area's art-goers, who can admire trees inside MOCA and the Broad and symphonies about nature inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, and then enjoy trees outside, all dapply and peaceful, afterwards.

Oh, and if you can't wait for more greeny goodness downtown, be cheered: The Broad's plaza will debut later this year, while The Broad itself makes its big bow in 2015. And like its public plaza, visitors to The Broad will pay no admission.

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