Today at FORUM I went to a seminar by Maria Cole, who worked with Daniel Libeskind (most famous for the Jewish Museum Berlin) on the addition to the Denver Art Museum. Coming from a very pragmatic, program-based approach to building design, it was a contrast to Libeskind’s more sculptural approach. Instead of producing a design through space programming, his first compulsion is to develop a sculpture that can address urban forces and implement the program later.
In the case of the Denver Art Museum, a large, triangular form extends to the north, gesturing, but not quite touching the original museum building (like God’s finger extending to Adam’s, but not touching, in Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”). On the south side the museum steps down to a more human, pedestrian scale to relate to the Golden Triangle mixed neighborhood that is adjacent.
The structure of the addition is not aesthetically significant to the design and is mostly hidden. Libeskind considers the building as sculpture, so the structure inconsequential. Therefor the structural design of the building was made as simple and efficient as possible with the complex design.
Interesting presentation. The art museum addition is quite an intrigue from the outside…I will need to check out the inside sometime. There are numerous examples of modern galleries of art building new additions that are as fantastic as the art itself. It raises the question: are these new spaces buildings for holding artwork, or are they their own piece of art? The addition to the Denver Art Museum is not only a building expansion, but an addition to their art collection.