Cultural Architecture

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan

The memorial merges design and art in a way that evokes a vacuous absence. It feels appropriate, even poignant.

All photos by Paul Clemence Last weekend I went to check out the new World Trade Center; I’ve been following its rise from my window in Brooklyn. I was prepared to deal with hoards of sightseers and extra-tight security, this being the weekend before the 9/11 anniversary. Though curious to see the National 9/11 Memorial, I had not had a…

Refurbishing a Palace: Toulouse-Lautrec Museum Renovation Complete

The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi, France has re-opened after ten years of intense renovation.

Renovated gallery, All Images Curtesy of Toulouse-Lautrec Museum For 10 years, the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in Albi, France has been under intense renovation. Based within a 13th century fortress, Palais de la Berbie, the museum expanded its exhibition spaces to better display the world’s largest collection of 19th century French painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Celebrating the projects completion, The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum…

Yale to Renovate Complex Containing Kahn’s University Art Gallery

The New-York based Ennead architects are tasked with providing additions to the complex, which contains Louis Kahn's 1953 architectural marvel.

The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) stands at the corner of York and Chapel Streets in New Haven, within the walls of Louis Kahn’s 1953 architectural marvel. For the past six years, only the Kahn building at the YUAG has been open to visitors. But this coming December the entire complex, renovated and expanded, will re-open, marking the completion of…

The New Barnes Foundation Building Is a “Rarefied Experience”

Like all great buildings, the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed museum transports.

Photos courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects New York City’s Le Bernadin restaurant was the chic, Michelin-starred venue for a recent press luncheon held to announce the opening of the new Barnes Art Museum in Philadelphia. A narrow stairway off West 51st Street led up to a not very large room. Circular tables ringed with top-flight design journalists and editors were…

Frank Gehry: “There’s not Enough Humanity in Buildings”

In conversation with Paul Goldberger at the Yale School of Architecture, the master blob-maker suggested that technology could be used to humanize the profession.

Disney Concert Hall Sometimes, you need to hear what you already know. A nightcap on the Open House events last Thursday, a conversation between Paul Goldberger and Frank Gehry didn’t bring to the fore any new insights on illustrious Gehry’s career, let alone reveal some new trajectory of the profession. Yet the themes that arose in their casual chatter—insecurity, intuition,…

Places that Work: National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a place that works because it attempts to reflect the cultures of those who first inhabited the Western Hemisphere. Located on the National Mall in Washington DC and operated by the Smithsonian Institution, the NMAI opened in 2004. There were many Native American architects affiliated with the project, initially lead by…

The Not-So-Hidden Agenda Against Gehry’s DC Memorial

The project may become a victim in a culture war, where ideas like Modernism, abstraction, and uncertainty are perceived as products of “liberal elites.

Images courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission This morning I received a breathless (as in, accusatory! alarming!) press release from an organization called the National Civic Art Society. They’re the Washington-based group that’s orchestrated much of the opposition to Frank Gehry’s proposed design for the Eisenhower Memorial. “National Civic Art Society Calls Attention to Conspicuous Gap in the Eisenhower Memorial Commission’s Meeting Minutes,”…

Places That Work: Hirshhorn

The building that houses the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is an exquisite disc that enhances the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, the Hirshhorn is shaped like a perfectly round donut that rests on four giant piers, 14 feet above ground level (museum visitors also have access to a lower level).  The hollow, cylindrical shape…

Krier: Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Is an “Anti-Monument”

Leon Krier condemns the controversial memorial design and sees a change to put an end to the decades-long "disfiguring" of the nation's capital.

Early design of the memorial Memorial design images courtesy Gehry Partners The Eisenhower Memorial competition and project have stirred a remarkable polemic, the center of which is not President Eisenhower or Washington, D.C. but Frank Gehry and the values he promulgates. I am writing not as an enemy of Mr. Gehry but as a lover of what the nation’s capital for two centuries…