Hirshhorn Museum
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Architect Gordon Bunshaft/ SOM
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Location Washington, D.C.,   map
Date 1974   timeline
Building Type art museum
 Construction System concrete
Climate temperate
Context urban campus
Style Modern
Notes Cylindrical mass on stout legs, around a round courtyard with sculpture.


Exterior Overview Photo


Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Site Plan Drawing

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Discussion Hirshhorn Museum Commentary

"The Hirshhorn Museum rises three stories on four massive, curving, concrete piers containing staircases, elevators, and mechanical services. Bunshaft is not sure that laymen appreciate the drama of piers situated so far apart, but as they are conspicuous in preconstruction renderings of the museum, it is clear that the piers were important to him. For structural reasons, Weidlinger advised that they be made heavier than initially planned, and as a result they limit circulation space at the entrance....Below the entrance floor is a lower level used for changing shows, and auditorium, shops, and rest rooms. The lower level and second and third stories are the principal exhibition spaces; the fourth floor accommodates staff offices and a study and storage center."

—from Carol Herselle Krinsky. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. p251, 253, 254-257


"...The Hirshorn Museum, 82 feet 4 inches high and with a maximum diameter of 231 feet 7 inches, occupies only part of its paved enclosure, which is 300 x 400 feet in size; other Govenment-owned musuems in Washington tend to be 800 or 900 feet long. It is therefore less grandiose than it seemed before the massive Air and Space Museum on the next block east was completed."

"...Inflation also forced Bunshaft to eliminate a restaurant and some storage spaces, part of a 40,000-square-foot shrinkage of the lower level. Gravel replaces flagstone in front of the building, and the budget for the sculpture garden was seriously reduced. Bunshaft helped persuade Hirshhorn to contribute an extra million dollars to help make up for unexpected costs and to save the fountain in the courtyard."

—from Carol Herselle Krinsky. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Sources on Hirshhorn Museum

Carol Herselle Krinsky. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. New York: The Architectural History Foundation, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1988. ISBN 0-262-11130-6. LC 88-854. NA737.B84K75. fourth floor plan drawing showing offices, library, and storage area, p298. plan drawing of second and third floor galleries, p298. section drawing, p298. site plan drawing, p298. discussion, p251, 253, 254-257.

Ernest and Kathleen Meredith, Fairfax, Virginia. Slide from photographers' collection.

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture: Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. TR659.S28 1990. exterior photo from across garden, p101. exterior photo from below, p101. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography. Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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Web Resources
Links on Hirshhorn Museum

Hirshhorn MuseumThe museum's own official web site

Hirshhorn Museum at ArchiplanetFind, add, and edit info at the all-buildings collaboration

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