Des Moines Art Center Addition--page 1 (of two pages)

Richard Meier
1984; original museum: Eliel Saarinen, 1948; addition: I. M. Pei, 1965

All of the wonderful photographs on these two pages were taken by my brother, Douglas Miller, who generously took them for my website. He owns the copyright. If you have any interest in these images, please contact him directly: Doug Miller
Comprised of three interconnected buildings, each by the signature architect of the era, this art center represents the styles of each major architect at the same time that it represents a unique collaboration. Each section is clad differently: the Eliel Saarinen building, completed in 1945, of Lannon stone, was followed by the Pei addition in 1968 of bushhammered concrete. The Meier addition, of almost 30,000 square feet, is characterized by sweeping sculptural forms and clad in his usual material: porcelain-coated metal panels.

The Meier addition

However, Meier used granite cladding for the first time and set his addition on a granite base as well--this to work in a complementary way with the two earlier architects' buildings. (See also Meier's Getty Museum, his High Museum in Atlanta, and the Athenaeum.)

Left: north and east sides of addition; center: east side primarily; right: east side with a bit of the back (south) and some of the front (north)

Stylistic elements are signature Meier: dramatic geometries, the use of repeated grids, sculptural forms with cutouts and cutaways, tubular steel railings (the ocean liner look), use of ramps, and the slick machine look.

All photographed from the northwest--left almost NNW of the addition, right WNW.


West side of addition--granite foundation is visiible


The connections with the original Saarinen Lannon stone building


All three buildings joined in this part of the structure

Continue to page 2.

This site has no connection with the Des Moines Arts Center. Any errors are my own.

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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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