Sunday, June 12, 2011

Des Moines Art Center: I.M. Pei

The Des Moines Art Center Sculpture Wing. Photograph by versluis © 2010.

The Des Moines Art Center’s addition for sculpture was designed by I.M. Pei and completed in 1968. Viewing the south elevation one can recognize the horizontal and vertical geometric concrete forms, which create a fairly rigid but playful pattern of rectangular voids. In a sense the building is monolithic and an architectonic sculpture that stands in contrast to showcase the sculpture collection found inside.

Here’s an excerpt from the Des Moines Art Center’s website:

Pei’s proposal for an addition to the Art Center was seemingly simple: a wing built across the open end of [Eliel] Saarinen’s U-shaped building on its south side. By choosing this gently sloping site, Pei was able to design a dramatic two-story gallery with a spectacular south-facing facade without overwhelming Saarinen’s low-lying building. [partially shown on right side]

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