Barton Malow

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Michigan State University

MSU Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum finished construction exterior view

Building Exterior

Precise placement was required for these 1,000-pound, 15-foot geometric custom-cut glass panels

Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, known for the “unbuildable” building, Michigan State University’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum pushed architectural boundaries and challenged conventional construction. Constructed of sloped steel and concrete with a pleated metal and glass exterior, carefully piecing together dynamic dimensions and non-traditional materials challenged the team from the very beginning. Atypical building techniques were a part of everyday construction. The structural system is a hybrid of steel framing and concrete shear and bearing walls. Iconic and innovative, crafting this complex architecture to life while maintaining design intent came with numerous challenges. Barton Malow provided construction management services for the 46,000 SF facility that includes over 20,000 SF of gallery space on the MSU campus in East Lansing, Michigan.

Given the unique design, Barton Malow carried out an exceptional preconstruction effort to source materials and ensure constructability. Throughout the development of the design and modeling process, successful BIM integration processes were performed, where information was extracted from the collaborative design model for interactive estimating, value engineering, schedule productivity, and design-assist interface. The project team overcame several challenges, including budget, making the complex concept buildable through construction innovation, and using conventional materials in non-conventional ways. Amid a busy university campus, extra measures were taken to ensure a safe site, and the museum was completed with an exemplary safety record.  The construction project had a significant community impact, including utilizing the local workforce, supporting MSU’s education mission, and creating minimal disruption on campus.

Building the Unbuildable

On the banks of the Red Cedar and nestled among the ivy-colored halls of Michigan State University stands the building that many deemed “unbuildable.” Learn more about the unique design and challenging construction of the MSU Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in the third episode of our Said Differently podcast.

Check out more of our higher education construction portfolio from MSU and beyond here.