National Gallery of Art East Building – Looking Good

6th and Constitution Ave NW

It has obviously been a while since I walked by because I didn’t even know all the scaffolding had come down. It’s not totally finished because construction fences are still up but you can see it’s looking sweet as ever:


More photos after the jump.





7 Comment

  • the problem now is that they are renovating the entire inside… no more art… at least not for a long time.

    • It’ll be interesting to see what they can do with the interior. the spaces never looked very flexible and and large shows always seem shoehorned into the space they have, while the big open spaces stay mostly dead. never got the hype for the building. The crossover basically is a shopping mall and the facade is pretty uninspired.

      • I agree! People make a fuss because it’s “IM Pei!!!”…..I say his architecture is dull and dated. The interior is wasted as a space for an expanding art collection.

      • I disagree. The building itself is definitely art. I went with my 3-year-old over the weekend and all the hidden and crazy staircases, escalators and oddly shaped elevators are genius and fun. When the light is streaming at a certain angle, you suddenly notice a pattern in the marble or some nook that leads to a walkway that leads to a stairway you didn’t know was there. There’s no shortage of interesting views into, around and out of the building. The sculptures in the atrium look even more interesting from the mezzanine, and the view from the ginormous picture window overlooking the gallery’s west building is one of my favorite vistas in the city.

  • Sucks that the marble facade had to be replaced after only 35 years. Some contractor has some ‘splainin’ to do.
    Also sucks that they’re closing the exhibit spaces, but at least the walkway and the Cascade Cafe are staying open. We always make that part of our visits to the Mall when kids are along. They love the lights and the waterfall (and the overpriced gelato).

    • I thought the facade was made of veneers — rather than blocks — which likely would require some sort of maintenance after 30 -40 years or so. (I’m not sure about this though)

      • The West Gallery by John Russell Pope is also a veneer of stone, but laid in a traditional fashion with a load-bearing masonry backup and looking almost as good today as the day it was installed ±35 years before the East Gallery. Pei insisted on unprecedented 1/8″ mortar joints and the panels are ‘hung’ from a concrete structure with metal ties which caused issues from differential expansion and contraction. In reality, the mortar bound some of the stone panels together when they were intended to float free from each other independently.
        @MRD my $.02 curious/surprise circulation patterns shouldn’t be a ‘feature’ of a building like a public museum.

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