Judging Buildings – American University’s Katzen Arts Center


This building (4400 Masschusetts Ave, NW) knocked my socks off. I liked it so much when I was in the area last week that I walked all the way back there from Petworth. It was well worth the effort. Sadly, my camera couldn’t get the whole building in one shot so I had to take a few which doesn’t do it perfect justice but you can a feel for it.

Below is the back of the section shown above:


The middle:


The back:


What do you think of the style? Anyone check out the art?

After the jump I also ran into hundreds of folks walking (I think) to combat breast cancer.


11 Comment

  • Ashy Oldlady

    I like just about everything about it, except the old-fashioned, serif typeface used on the signage, which just looks really out of place and inappropriate on such a Modern building.

  • I drive by this every day on my way to work out in Bethesda, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Having the parking garage underneath coupled with the mass amount of concrete on top always makes me think that the whole building is masquerading as a parking garage, not just the subterranean part. I do enjoy the curvature mixed with the straight edges. Also, from every angle around the circle, this building takes on a different look. Agh, I still don’t know how I feel about it.

  • saf

    I used to have an office in Nebraska Hall, just east of this building. I watched them build it.

    I have an MA from a department that is located in this building. They moved in RIGHT after I finished my degree, spending years sitting in the basement of the old building.

    I like it. I just wish I had had a chance to go to classes in there!

  • I like this building a lot. It reminds me of the Mellon Arts Center at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, where I used to work:

    Can’t find any good pictures, really, but here’s the website: http://www.choate.edu/artscenter/index.asp

    It was built pretty recently, maybe they have a similar architect or style?

  • PMAC was designed by I.M. Pei and built in 1972.

    The Katzen Center was designed by Einhorn Yaffee Prescott and was built in 2006.

    As architects retain copyright on the design of their work, they should be acknowledged as the designer when images of their work are published. Even on an internet forum.

  • There you go, PoP, you should be acknowledging the architects of every house and building you ever post on your blog. 😉

    Given the nature of this blog, I think that would be a pretty ridiculous task. Where do you draw the line on which architects get acknowledged? Only the “famous” ones? Buildings, but not houses? Buildings and houses, but not renovations or pop-ups? I’d think that PoP’s acknowledgment by taking the picture in the first place is enough.

  • if the architect is known they should be acknowledged. obviously sometimes the architect is not known, as is the case with many row homes.

    it is pretty basic copyright law. just as PoP acknowledges the sources of photos found on flickr.
    the architects of these two buildings can be found by doing a quick google search. It is hardly a burden to find such information.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @not telling, I’m not being sarcastic, but if you have time to acknowledge the architects I’d be most grateful.

  • lead architect Steven Kleinrock

    took me 10 secs of googling.. 😉

  • @not telling – the copyright applies if one were to sell lithographs of a building, or build a similar design. but pictures of it from the exterior are ok – just like photos of people in public spaces don’t require a release.

  • As a student there, I love the Katzen building both in design and in use. I love climbing the stairs and entering the back grounds with uniquely designed “shield” structures. The place is a wonder to explore, though I still haven’t found a way to get to the roof. If you ever do go to the second floor outside, the view of the whole campus is beautiful!

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