March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Official opening is being scheduled for the fall

The road to Broad just got a little longer: Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon announced this morning that the planned April 21 dedication date for the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has been scrapped. A fall date is being scheduled.
The press release says the delay is “due to a combination of material supply delays and the priority placed on involving students in opening activities.”
“We have an uncompromising commitment to assure the integrity of this powerful architectural statement,” said Simon in the release. “This is to insure that integrity, which is an investment in the enduring impact the museum will have on the university, our students and faculty, the community, the state of Michigan and the art world. We’re pushing the limits for something extraordinary, and we will do what it takes to get it right.”
The cost of the Broad is estimated to be approximately $45 million. It was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid.
The Broad’s unusual specifications have presented construction challenges. For example, the exterior of the building is covered with “built-up units of triple-glazed glass,” MSU design administrator Daniel Bollman explained. “The outer pane is made of two panes of glass sandwiched together. Then there’s an air void and then another pane of glass, and another air void and another pane.”
The voids between the panes are filled with argon gas to help seal in heat.
“We have stringent environmental standards in the building to minimize heat loss,” Bollman said. “We’re trying to be as environmentally sophisticated as possible.”
The pieces of glass vary in size — the largest are 12 feet by 4 feet — and all are irregularly shaped.
“Because of the geometry and the fact that they’re extremely large, they are difficult to manufacture,” Bollman said, and if the pane does not fit precisely, it must be re-manufactured.
The glass pieces are coming from Germany, “so you have shipping issues and customs issues,” Bollman said. “It all takes time.
“One of the logical questions I’ve been getting is, ‘Why not the U.S.? But really, given the size of the units and the complex geometry, no glass manufacturer in the States can make this size.”