Akron Art Museum

So, despite growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, and traveling home several times throughout the last 5 years, I feel like a complete idiot for never stopping or scheduling a stop at the Akron Art Museum. I came across this building in a forum I was looking through the other day and was kind of blown away at the architecture. For someone who (despite an argumentative & defensive pride) doesn't see all THAT much worth visiting in the midwest, I must say... between I.M.Pei's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, and this museum, Ohio's doing okay for itself.

"The new addition to the Akron Museum of Art underscores how hard it can be to strike a balance between daring architecture and enjoyable spaces for viewing art. Designed by the Vienna-based Coop Himmelb(l)au, the building’s crystalline exterior and lobby, with their cascading sheets of glass, reflect an exuberant spirit of invention and openness.

Unfortunately, that spirit stops at the gallery doors. After the initial euphoria of taking in the big public spaces, the galleries feel surprisingly drab. You’re left with the deflating impression that the client and the architect experienced a failure of nerve at the moment that mattered most.

The old museum, housed in a 19th-century Renaissance Revival building that once served as a post office, stands on a commercial strip facing an ugly brick-clad parking structure in downtown Akron. This is the dark side of the America recalled by Robert Venturi: a haunted Main Street U.S.A. of decrepit brick buildings, vacant windows and empty storefronts."

-the New York Times, July 9, 2006

For the record, I'm still going to plan a trip to see it for myself- I'll let you know what I think. When I was looking through some of the progress shots and saw some sketches and models that were completed throughout the entirety of the design, I thought of my thesis project. Not necessarily the result that I geniously created in my last semesters in school, but instead of the challenge itself- taking an old building (in my case an old warehouse in Cleveland; in their case an extremely old brick post office building) and juxtaposing it with some new "wave of the future" to create the style of today- which seems to be leaning more towards that whole Modern Meets Vintage appeal. Not combining, necessarily, to create a new blend of architecture / design / fashion / etc... but instead, combining the elements to be obviously (and celebrated, for that matter) different from each other- complimentary. Either way, I'll let you know how it looks next time I drive home, which will most likely be Christmas.

No comments: