The Hirshhorn Museum : Rings Of Adventure Essay

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The Hirshhorn Museum: Rings of Adventure

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has always generated conversation about its choices. Even after it had just been constructed, its architectural choices were the subject of critique. Two days after the museum opened in 1974, Ada Louise Huxtable, of The New York Times, gave the following review: “[The building] is known around Washington as the bunker or gas tank, lacking only gun emplacements or an Exxon sign… It totally lacks the essential factors of esthetic strength and provocative vitality that make genuine ‘brutalism’ a positive and rewarding style. This is born-dead, neo-penitentiary modern. Its mass is not so much aggressive or overpowering as merely leaden.” On the other hand, while the museum was still in its infancy, Benjamin Forgey, from The Washington Post, saw the building in a more positive light: “[The Hirshhorn is] the biggest piece of abstract art in town—a huge, hollowed cylinder raised on four massive piers, in absolute command of its walled compound on the Mall…. The circular fountain…is a grand concoction…that for good reason has become the museum’s visual trademark.” The design of this modern and contemporary art museum was a stark contrast to the other more rigid and traditional buildings on the National Mall of Washington, D.C. making it a major topic of conversation.

The museum is in the shape of a cylinder with a circular, hollow space in the middle, like a ring. It has four accessible floors. The…

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