Along the main drag north of the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing lies the usual dowdy mix of Gothic-inspired classroom buildings and rundown frat houses. Then, a canted, glass-and-stainless-steel building, in the shape of a parallelogram, radicalizes the streetscape.

This is the Broad Art Museum, only the second permanent architectural project in the United States by the London-based architect Zaha Hadid. And it resides unexpectedly on the northern edge of the green and sprawling university campus.

Nearly 73,...