Corcoran Gallery Of Art

by | 15. Aug 2012

Cultural | Feature

Photo courtesy Gehry Partners

The Corcoran Gallery of Art is located in Washington, DC, adjacent to the White House and the National Mall. Founded in 1869, the Corcoran Gallery of Art is Washington’s oldest art museum and its only college of art and design.

The current facilities include a building designed by Ernest Flagg that opened in 1897, as well as an addition designed by Charles Platt that opened in 1928.

The addition’s rambunctious appearance, pierced by a series of long, sinewy windows, will be a powerful contrast to the hard, repetitive stone surface of the original building, as if all of the artistic ideals trapped beneath the somber stone have joyously spilled out into the open.
/Nicolai Ouroussoff

Photo courtesy Gehry Partners


Both the original building and the addition currently contain two floors of galleries, administrative offices and support facilities, as well as facilities for the college of art and design. The original building plans for the existing facilities were never fully realized, and because the existing facilities cannot accommodate the Corcoran’s growing permanent collection or its recent increase in student enrollment, an international design competition was held and the design of a new and final addition was commissioned.


Photo courtesy Gehry Partners


The addition creates a new main entrance on New York Avenue that leads to a new atrium, placed on axis with the existing 17th Street NW entrance and atrium. The central location of the new atrium creates a unifying element between the existing facilities and the addition.

Two distinct types of gallery space will be included in the addition. A series of more traditional gallery spaces will be located within a cluster of rectilinear volumes located in the new atrium. A series of more sculptural galleries will be located within three sculptural volumes that animate the facade along New York Avenue.


Photo courtesy Gehry Partners


Photo: arcspace Roof Plan

In order to insure that the college of art and design would have an equally strong identity within the institution, a second new atrium, devoted exclusively to use by the college of art and design, is located below grade along New York Avenue.

Large, sculptural skylights at street level flood the atrium with natural light. Studios for the college of art and design are located within a series of sculptural elements in the atrium that relate to the forms of the fa├žade above. Additional facilities for the college of art and design are located adjacent to the atrium.

The new main entrance to the museum passes between the skylights at street level, providing equal presence to the museum and to the college of art and design as visitors arrive.


Photo: arcspace The Corcoran Team lead by Project Designer Edwin Chan



Sketch courtesy Gehry Partners



Model photo courtesy Gehry Partners The Competition Model



Model photo courtesy Gehry Partners The Competition Model


CITY Washington, DC
ARCHITECT Tensho Takemori
Smith Group