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Eli Broad gives LA the silent treatment

There are curmudgeonly old men and then there’s Eli Broad, whose secrecy around the design of his LA museum seems to be putting everyone off. First, he wouldn’t reveal the site, then he wouldn’t reveal the architecture firms he was considering and now that he’s chosen one he won’t reveal the design until he breaks ground in the fall. Of course, as a private owner, Broad is under no obligation to reveal any part of his operation, but many in LA claim he’s “making a mockery of the public process,” and that his refusal to share his plans is “a disaster for LA, which will effectively have no say over one of the most important cultural institutions in history.”

To prove he’s not a poor sport, Broad invited LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne to see the winning proposal from Diller Scofidio + Renfro, but no photos have been released and no other news outlets have been allowed in on the scoop. Without pictures, Hawthorne’s report is heavy with description and metaphor, noting that the New York firm’s plans, called The Veil and the Vault “explores the longstanding tension between Broad’s wealth, vast art holdings and micromanaging style and his role as a philanthropist — between one who collects (or protects) and one who freely gives.”

One of Diller Scofidio’s design features that surely helped them win the bid is the lobby that brings visitors entering the museum’s front entrance “face to face, through glass, with drivers on their way down to the museum’s parking garage.” But you’ll just have to imagine what that looks like.